A specialist fraud unit of the Spanish Police have arrested several people on charges of swindling 70,000€ worth of 5 star hotel stays, extravagant VIP club nights and luxury car rentals and boat charters.
Central to the trail of deception is said to be a young Russian who resides in Spain under political asylum protection, and had not even turned 18 during much o
f the time the frauds took place. Also arrested were Spanish people from the Valencia area and one Kenyan national.
Some may question the prudence in Police issuing step by step details of how the frauds were committed, but they did and so here it is.
Do not try this at home.
The brazen hustlers first obtained credit card and personal information on the dark web. Most people with even a moderate degree of tech savvy will know it is ridiculously easy to obtain almost anything you can think of on the dark web. You are always hearing about identity theft, well the dark web is where it gets sold on.
The hustlers would book into Ibiza’s 5 star hotels and adopt the persona of high rollers. If you act like you’ve got it, most people will assume you do.
They avoided the need to make direct payments or show original documents by sending the stolen card information and supporting identification by email. How hard would a hotel cashier check a copy of a passport or driving licence once a successful payment or payment hold had been authorised?
Once in, they had a free run for some time, charging everything to their account.
They ran up 20,000€ in one top Ibiza Hotel, but were always careful to move on before the unwitting card holder got the end of month surprise of their life. In the next hotel they would start the whole process again with a new stolen dark web identity.
They did not limit themselves to hotels. Reports stated they managed to run up a bill of 12,500€ in one night at one of Ibiza’s clubs, and a 5,500€ bill for a luxury car rented at a cost of 90€ an hour, and all using the same pay-by-email technique. Good of them to point out how, just in case you missed it the first time.
They were not shy. The youngsters regularly posted photos of themselves indulging in their ill-gotten gains on social media. For anybody tempted to try their arm at a fraud spree the police also rather helpfully point out that this was the criminals’ comeuppance, so best to keep those memories of that 1,000€ bottle to yourselves.