According to the National Police of Spain, 40 individuals have been apprehended for their purported participation in the criminal group known as Trinitarians.
Two hackers who utilized phishing and smishing tactics to carry out bank scams were apprehended along with 15 other members of the criminal group. The group has been charged with various criminal activities such as bank fraud, identity theft, money laundering, and document forgery.
Overall, it is believed that the malicious plan scammed over 300,000 individuals, leading to a total loss exceeding €700,000.
“The criminal organization used hacking tools and business logistics to carry out computer scams,” Authorities stated.
The cybercriminals employed a tactic of sending false links through SMS to execute their attacks. These links would redirect unsuspecting users to a phishing panel posing as authentic financial institutions. The intention was to acquire the user’s login details and subsequently manipulate their access to request loans or link their cards to cryptocurrency wallets controlled by the cybercriminals.
The intention behind these SMS messages was to create a fake urgency and improve the likelihood of success for the perpetrators by pressuring the recipients to click on the link provided, claiming that it would solve a supposed security concern regarding their bank accounts.
The group utilized the stolen cards to acquire digital assets, which were subsequently converted into cash to finance various activities, including covering legal expenses, transferring funds to incarcerated members, and procuring drugs and weaponry.
A portion of the illegal earnings were transferred to offshore bank accounts, which were then utilized by other members of the group to acquire property in the Dominican Republic.
“They also had an extensive network of mules that they used to receive money from bank transfers and withdraw it through ATMs,” Spain’s National Police mentioned.
The outfit carried out another scam by creating sham companies to make fake purchases in order to obtain point-of-sale (PoS) terminals.
According to officials, the police conducted 13 home searches in Madrid, Seville, and Guadalajara. As a result, computer equipment, padlocks, €5,000 in cash, lock-picking toolkits, and various documents outlining the gang’s organizational structure were seized.