Spanish police have arrested 35 people allegedly involved in an international counterfeit bank card ring which laundered its profits using Bitcoin.
Criminals made more than $675,855 (€600,000) and laundered more than $891,250 (€1,000,000), according to local media reports.
Most of those arrested hailed from Spain, Nigeria, Cameroon, Morocco, and Equatorial Guinea.
The criminals defrauded 210 victims in Spain, and a further 20 in Israel, Denmark, Germany, France, and Greece.
Spain’s Civil Guard – the force leading the investigation – says it’s detected 104 fraudulent cards made in Spain and other 12 countries.
The investigation was sparked after a car rental company in Alicante (Spain) reported the use of a fraudulent card.
Fraudsters resorted to the widely used phishing method to gain victims’ credit card details and credentials.
They also used skimming to copy cards’ magnetic strips in a bid to clone them. Finally, they resorted to the ‘Bin attack fraud’ method whereby they generated new card numbers based on the existing card number.
Counterfeit cards were used to pay for hotels, flights, train tickets, rental cars, and technology equipment.
Some of the arrested individuals were tasked with laundering the funds into Bitcoins through several unnamed companies based in Finland, Estonia, and the UK.
The money was also laundered in the US, Equatorial Guinea, and Benin using money transfer services.