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How a Valencia Cybercriminal Stole Over 4000 Bank Accounts

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POLICE have revealed the complex methods used by a young cybercriminal to steal the details of 4000 bank accounts from his Valencia apartment.

When Policia Nacional arrested the 25-year old at his home in the centre of Valencia, they seized 29 phones, 56 Sim cards, and two laptops. These were the only tools he needed to steal over 4000 bank accounts from innocent Spanish customers, netting himself thousands of Euro.

First, the criminal bought several website domain names that were similar to those used by the real Spanish tax office and post-service. Hiding his identity through a VPN, which disguises the location of its user, he created fake websites mimicking the legitimate agencies.

Using his arsenal of phones, he then dispatched over 170 thousand text messages to people across Spain pretending to be from government agencies. He’d tell them that they needed to make a seemingly legitimate transaction, like paying for a parcel or adding their details to a tax return. On his hard drive, detectives discovered a database of almost half a million phone numbers across the country.

The texts would lead victims to his bogus websites, where they would unwittingly enter their bank details believing them to be legitimate agencies. If the man had not been reported by a shop that informed police he was making purchases from multiple accounts, it’s difficult to imagine how much money the cybercriminal could have made from his scheme. He is currently in prison, awaiting trial for his serious crimes.

The public has been warned to always be skeptical of messages claiming to be from government bodies, such as the tax office or post-service, as they could very well be scammers after your hard-earned cash. Always double-check that the website is legitimate before entering details – a telltale giveaway of fraudsters is websites with an unnecessary word added to their addresses (e.g www.Coreo-Pagar.com as opposed to simply www.Coreo.es for the Spanish post service).


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Oisin Sweeney

Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...

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