In the recent operation called “Revomarca”, the Guardia Civil of Almeria, has dismantled a criminal organisation dedicated to carrying out technological scams, using the “smishing” method, in which the perpetrators, by means of deception, obtain the access codes to the online banking of a well-known bank to empty the accounts of their victims.
This operation began in October 2021 as a result of several complaints filed in the province of Almería, in which the victims informed the Guardia Civil that they had accessed their online banking from a link they believed to be legitimate from their bank and subsequently found their current accounts empty.
The perpetrators, posing as employees of a banking institution and by means of deception, managed to get the victims to access their online banking via a link in an SMS message and thus get hold of the passwords to subsequently empty the current accounts through multiple bank transfers to a third account in a banking institution in an Eastern European country.
Similarly, the members of this organisation send mass SMS messages from a well-known bank to the victims informing them that their accounts have been blocked for security reasons and through the link they ask them to verify the user’s identity and banking credentials, which end up in the hands of the cyber attackers.
As a result of this thorough investigation, the agents identified this criminal organisation made up of 16 people operating both from Spain and other European Union countries, and that it is divided into several groups that are responsible for making bank transfers from the victims’ accounts to other accounts opened in a specialised bank, specialised in the purchase and sale of crypto-assets from an Eastern European country, so that another part of the organisation invests the money stolen from their accounts in cryptocurrencies and thus hinder the monitoring of the capital.
As a result of operation “Revomarca”, the Guardia Civil of Almeria dismantled this criminal organisation and arrested four of its members in Madrid, the ringleader in Barcelona and investigated a sixth in Burgos as perpetrators of several crimes of technological fraud and membership of a criminal organisation. Likewise, the Guardia Civil of Almeria initiates the necessary steps through the Judicial Authority and foreign authorities to locate and arrest the members of the organisation based in other countries such as Hungary, Greece, Italy, France, Germany and the Czech Republic, not ruling out the possibility of further arrests.
The proceedings, together with the detainees, are at the disposal of the Juzgado de Instrucción Nº 3 of Almería.
In order to try to avoid this type of scams, the Guardia Civil recommends:
Be wary of any message and even more so if it has a bank link associated with it, if we have not checked it beforehand with our trusted person at the bank.
Under no circumstances should you provide your identity and passwords through a link (the bank already has your details, so you do not have to ask for them).
If you have any doubts or suspicions as to whether or not it could be a scam, do nothing until you consult your bank.
If you are already a victim of a scam or deception, report it as soon as possible to your bank and file the corresponding complaint, providing links, SMS, etc. used by the perpetrators to the Guardia Civil.