NO matter how often people are warned about internet scams, there are always some who are prepared to be parted from their money, either because they don’t understand what they are being led into or are simply greedy.
Ten people have been arrested across Spain by the National Police suspected of obtaining large amounts of money from at least 62 victims in 35 different countries using three different types of scam.
In the first case, e-mails are sent out purportedly from a prominent lawyer in Africa who says that he represents a person desperate to transfer funds to Europe and will pay a commission to anyone who will help him to accept these funds. Naturally, there is a need to make an upfront payment in order to undertake the transfer and people pay that, even though they are knowingly assisting the illegal transfer of funds.
In the second scam, individuals are told that they have won large amounts of money in a lottery that they were entered into by a third party and as the scam continues, they are instructed to make certain payments in order for the funds to be released.
In the third case, after undertaking business research, the scammers contact companies offering products at very attractive prices but after securing an interest and having submitted very believable documentation, an advance payment is required before the goods can be shipped.
Needless to say, in all cases the only payments went one way and that was from the ‘mark’ to the scammers who set up false companies and bank accounts around Spain using fake documentation and in most cases took the funds from cash dispensers rather than even going into their banks.
After undertaking raids in Vitoria, Valencia, Xirivella and Alfafar, officers found five fake passports (four of which were British), details of the criminal activities including fake documents and €7,000 in cash. It is believed that the gang earned at least €500,000 from their illegal activities and their bank accounts have now been frozen.