A joint effort of the Europol with the Spanish Police allowed to dismantle a very active cyber criminal gang operating in Barcellona.

The Europol has supported the Spanish Police (Grupo de fraudes en el uso de las telecomunicaciones de la Brigada Central de Seguridad Informatica-U.I.T Madrid) to dismantle the cyber criminal group, the joint operation is codenamed Walker and took place in Barcelona. On July 6, the law enforcement in Spain arrested nine suspects and dismantled a sophisticated illegal call centre.

“the action in Spain on 6 July resulted in the arrest of nine suspects, the dismantling of a sophisticated illegal call centre, six house searches and the seizure of numerous pieces of evidence” states the post published by the Europol.

The police dismantled six house searches and seized over 100 mobile phones and stolen SIM cards, more than EUR 10 000 in cash, credit cards, computer equipment and other devices.

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The suspects are responsible for a large scale telecommunication fraud and for the laundering of proceeds of the illegal activities.

The fraud scheme is simple as effective, the criminals stole a mobile phone from tourists in Spain, then harvest and misuse the foreign mobile numbers until they were blocked by the telecom operators in their countries.

The Europol and the Spanish polish have collaborated with telecommunication companies to collect evidence of the illegal activities.

The cyber criminals cash-out was done by making fraudulent phone calls to premium service numbers set up and managed by members of the criminal ring based outside the EU.

By analysing the financial transactions the investigators discovered the criminal organization relied on a network of accomplices who operated the destination bank accounts.

According to the Europol, the group was one of the most active criminal ring, the police estimated they have stolen at least EUR 2 million from victims in various countries.

“This international revenue share fraud (IRSF) is an insidious form of organised criminal activity that generates significant profits for the criminal groups and undermines the legal economy. The global estimated illegal income from this type of crime is more than EUR 45 million.” continues the post.

Pierluigi Paganini