26 March 2024

Romanian and Spanish police bust an international scam ring


Romanian and Spanish police bust an international scam ring

The Romanian Police (Politia Romana) and the Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional) in coordination with Europol took down an international scam syndicate involved in Business Email Compromise (BEC) fraud and orchestrating fake advertisements for inexpensive holiday rentals.

As part of the law enforcement operation that took place on March 19, 2024, the authorities arrested nine individuals involved in the scam ring and executed 22 house searches in Sibiu and Vâlcea, Romania, where the criminal syndicate was based.

Among the items seized were over EUR 174,000 and RON 41,000 in cash, 55 grams of gold, and an array of electronic devices comprising 135 mobile phones, 29 laptops, 5 tablets, 23 memory sticks, and 326 SIM cards, indicative of the scale and complexity of the criminal operation.

The syndicate operated through a meticulously organized structure, divided into three distinct groups, each assigned specific roles. One group oversaw coordination, while another focused on disseminating fake advertisements across legitimate and phishing online platforms. The third group recruited money mules to launder the illicit profits generated from their activities.

While the group primarily targeted holiday rentals, they also peddled second-hand cars and electronic devices. Victims, predominantly from Spain, fell prey to the scam, with losses ranging from EUR 200 to EUR 10,000 per individual.

The criminal also conducted BEC scams to siphon funds by intercepting victims' emails through malware and redirecting payments to accounts controlled by the syndicate.

Authorities estimate that the number of victims affected by these schemes could surpass one thousand. The profits accrued by the organization are believed to total millions of euros.


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