OFFICERS of the National Police have arrested 73 people across Spain in connection with an internet travel agency which it is estimated obtained at least €1.5 million by use of fraudulent credit cards.
A single bank reported the possible use of a forged credit card to the National Police and this led to an investigation which discovered that banks in Australia, Europe and the USA were being duped by the use of fake credit cards.
The criminals who were based in Cadiz, Seville, Malaga, Marbella, Cordoba and Madrid worked together to set up different online travel agencies, taking money from genuine customers and supplying air, sea and train tickets which they purchased from the service providers using a whole range of fake credit cards.
It is also transpired that certain suppliers knew that the cards were fake but allowed them to be used in exchange for a percentage of the ‘profit’. In addition, the gang has set up a call centre through which a lot of the stolen money was routed, but they did not make social security payments to the tune of €300,000 and of the 73 arrested, 35 were involved in social security evasion.
After raiding six premises, officers recovered computers, card readers, fake cards supposedly from banks all over the world and physical documentation.