The huge sums of money that explain why there are so many SMS and email phishing scams in Spain

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Every so often, from Genbeta we echo some case of phishing that we know of. Sometimes because we ourselves receive messages that look fraudulent. It happened to us a few days ago when several people from the team received messages on behalf of BBVA and Banco Santander-very well done- that they were a scam.

Other times because users report it on social networks and in other cases because it is the authorities or the companies that are being impersonated that are alerting. What is a fact is that phishing is a common practice in our country and that many people end up falling into the trap.

some cybercriminal send SMS, emails or make calls to people alerting them to a problem or information and they ask for bank or personal information to solve the matter. They are getting better and better, they arrive on behalf of companies with which we are in regular contact (our bank, a parcel delivery service or a public entity for example) and that makes people believe that it is real.

How much money can cybercriminals make?

PHISHING

It’s not an exact science how much phishing scammers can collect. It depends on the scope and how well done the messages that are sent to deceive are. At the end of December, the Civil Guard arrested a phishing gang based in Alicante that had managed to swindle 600,000 euros from a total of 106 affected people from all over Spain thanks to smishing. The money was distributed among 8 people who have been arrested. That meant an average theft of 6,000 euros from each person.

How (and to whom) to report Internet fraud and SMS scams such as WhatsApp, FedEx or Correos

But it can be worse. From Genbeta we have spoken with the Central Cybercrime Unit of the National Police when last year there was a huge phishing campaign on behalf of parcel companies such as FedEx. They told us that “once criminals have access to online banking, their goal is to empty it as quickly as possible, extracting all the balance they have and registering credit cards, prepaid or even credits to be able to maximize their profits until the victims are aware”.

In the case of those scams from the first half of last year 2021, which obtained bank details from people after tricking them into sending a package, the authorities told us that “it is estimated that the average profit it can be around 15,000 – 20,000 euros, although there are always cases in which the loss is lower and some in which it is much higher (we have come to see some of close to 100,000 euros)”.

Another prominent case in 2021 was discovered in the summer. The Organic Unit of the Judicial Police of the Civil Guard of A Coruña announced that a campaign of bank fraud through phishing techniques affecting the clients of different entities in Galicia, managed to steal almost 370,000 euros from just 39 people.

On the other hand, in October 2021 a gang made up of 90 people managed to steal money from 100 people throughout Spain thanks to phishing scams. Here the amounts were exorbitant: in total, they managed to get two million euros according to the information provided by the National Police. Some victims came to see how 100,000 euros came out of their accounts of the robbery of this organized gang.

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