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vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

Spanish Authorities Dismantle Cybercrime Group

Spanish Authorities Dismantle Cybercrime Group
Zane Kennedy Published on 14th May 2023 Cybersecurity Researcher

Spanish authorities have arrested 40 individuals, including 15 members of an organized crime gang known as Trinitarians and two hackers, for their alleged involvement in a cybercrime operation that involved bank fraud, identity theft, money laundering, and forgery. The group is believed to have defrauded more than 300,000 victims, resulting in losses of over €700,000.

According to the Spanish National Police, the group used hacking tools and business logistics to carry out computer scams. They sent phishing and smishing messages to unsuspecting victims that contained links to fake websites of financial institutions. Once the victims were tricked into entering login credentials into these sites, the hackers used this information to request loans, link new verification phone numbers to the compromised accounts, and link the stolen cards to virtual crypto wallets under their control.

The money gained from the operation was used to buy narcotics and weapons, hire lawyers, finance meetings, and send money to imprisoned members of the gang. Money was also sent to accounts in the Dominican Republic, where it was used by other members to purchase real estate.

An extensive network of “mules” was also used by the gang to receive money gained from fraudulent bank transfers. These mules would withdraw the money at ATMs, which would then be used to make fake purchases through PoS (point of sale) terminals belonging to shell e-commerce businesses.

The police cybercrime unit's investigation also revealed that the Trinitarian group allegedly used stolen credit cards to purchase cryptocurrencies, which they then exchanged for fiat money in a "common box."

During the raids carried out in Madrid, Seville, and Guadalajara, the police seized computer equipment, padlocks, €5,000 in cash, lock-picking toolkits, and other documents containing information about the gang's organizational structure.

The Spanish authorities are working with international partners to locate and potentially recover all stolen amounts and assets.

About the Author

Zane is a Cybersecurity Researcher and Writer at vpnMentor. His extensive experience in the tech and cybersecurity industries provides readers with accurate and trustworthy news stories and articles. He aims to help individuals protect themselves through informative content and awareness of cybersecurity's crucial role in today's digital landscape.