• Fri. Oct 13th, 2023

Authorities Discovered a €700,000 Phishing and Money Laundering Conspiracy Involving Cybercriminals and Bandits

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Jul 10, 2023
Authorities Uncover €700,000 Phishing Conspiracy

Authorities in Spain have detained 40 persons on suspicion of being part of a major criminal organization that made more than €700,000 from phishing victims.

Two hackers and 15 alleged Trinitarios group members were apprehended and prosecuted for illegal organization, bank fraud, document forgery, identity theft, and money laundering.

How the Attacks Worked

Based on the findings, the organization was supported by phishing and bank fraud that was used to purchase narcotics and firearms, pay for attorneys for other members of the group who are in prison, and even to send money earned directly to gang members inside prisons. 

On authority of the bank, alleged attackers sent phishing SMS messages (mixing) to victims. In the SMS, the fraudsters stated that there was a security issue and asked that the recipient click on a malicious link to resolve it.

The victim was led to a false bank login page after clicking on the link, where they submitted their credentials. The attackers then used the credentials to get access to actual accounts, make loans, and link victims’ credit cards to virtual wallets on their phones.

The hackers then obtained bitcoin using the stolen cards, which they subsequently converted for fiat cash and deposited in a “common box” for later use by all members of the organization.

The organization also exploited stolen bank credentials by directing an enormous network of money mules to “cash out” at ATMs or receive monies through wire transfer, as well as making fake purchases via POS terminals through phony online cosmetic shops.

Some of the monies were transferred overseas as well as utilized to purchase property in the Dominican Republic. The operation involved 13 house searches in Madrid, Seville, and Guadalajara, where a list of 300,000 phishing victims, as well as €5,000 in cash, computer equipment, and lockpicking gear, were discovered.