The National Police has dismantled 49 fraudulent online stores dedicated to offering and selling goods that their buyers never received, such as household appliances and computer products at very low prices, according to what the police body reported this Friday. During the operation, which began six months ago, seven people have been arrested in Barcelona and Girona. Another 10 are being investigated. The alleged fraudsters swindled more than half a million euros from hundreds of people throughout Spain.
The way of operating began by contracting Internet domains that were hosted on a server located in Granollers (Barcelona). Subsequently, web pages were designed that appeared to be online stores for the sale of all kinds of electrical appliances and computer products at very low prices. In the process, the alleged fraudsters also engaged in capturing other people to manage the operation of these stores, who received commissions according to the sales they made.
When the victims made the payment, they did not receive the products nor were they able to contact the alleged sellers, except on a few occasions, describes the Police, in which a refund of up to 70% of what was paid could be obtained, “leaving a clean profit of the remaining 30% to the authors of the scam”. The web pages investigated are no longer operational, adds the police entity.
The investigation began six months ago, when agents specialized in “cyber patrolling” found different web pages, up to 49, that operated according to the same methods: selling electrical and computer products at prices below those of the market. Some of those investigated also argued that they managed their sales in a modality known as “shared sales”. According to this system, the sale of a product does not require the “direct” purchase of it, but rather reserve it until another 10 people also request it. Only then is the product received.
At least 17 people participated as administrators of the domains, says the Police. Among them, the two main involved in the alleged crime. According to the police statement, some of those investigated “claimed to have been deceived by having participated in a business that is legal only in appearance.” During the investigation, the National Police has found hundreds of victims throughout Spain. The total amount of those scammed exceeds half a million euros.
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