Looks like India and the U.S. aren’t the only ones who had problems with phone scammers this year! On December 14, Spanish police arrested more than 200 Chinese nationals who were suspected of running call centers used for scamming in luxurious Spanish villas. Over 16 million euro ($17 million U.S.) has been stolen from Spain’s compatriots in China.
Police officials reported that 13 call centers were found and immediately shut down in Madrid, Barcelona and Alicante.
“We are talking about thousands of Chinese citizens, mainly poor families who were robbed of their modest savings and which led some victims to commit suicide,” national police commissioner Eloy Quiros told a news conference.
Spanish police first got the tip of the scam back in July from Chinese authorities who informed them that a number of Chinese nationals were being victimized from phone scams originating from Spain.
Similar to call center scammers in India, who also targeted victims in the U.S., the Chinese scammers, using Spain as their home base, victimized people in China by phone. They first pose as friends or family and warn victims of a number of scams. A second group of scammers would then call the targeted victims back and disguise themselves as police officials claiming to be investigating the scams.
Once the scammers have reeled in their victim, they would then inform them that the best way to help in their investigation was to deposit money in a number of bank accounts.
After the arrests were made, Spanish police announced that all the suspects who were detained were Chinese Nationals who came to Spain as tourists and then stayed in the country.
China is seeking to extradite all of their citizens connected with the investigation.