A gang that has been robbing the elderly through a “seeding scam” has been brought down.

A gang that has been robbing the elderly through a “seeding scam” has been brought down.

It is a method used for people over the age of 65 who go to an ATM. After choosing the victim, the scammers expect him to withdraw money to find out his secret number. Next, they throw a 5 or 10 euro note on the ground and before the user removes the card, they inform him that he dropped it. When the person bends down to pick it up, their card is stolen or replaced with an identical card. The gang later uses them to withdraw money or make fraudulent purchases. This new scam is known as the seeding technique and is what an organized gang dismantled by the Mossos d’Esquadra engaged in. They took advantage of the victims’ vulnerability to steal their card using this method. For this reason, the police cooperated for the first time with the recently created Public Prosecutor’s Office for the Protection of Vulnerable Victims.

The suspects used false identities and, within three months, committed 12 robberies using this method, defrauding about 21,000 euros. On 25 April, four people, two men and two women, aged between 19 and 63, were arrested, although a fifth is under investigation. They are accused of theft, bank fraud and belonging to a criminal organization. The suspects, who were of foreign origin, found it easy to move and act in several locations in a short time. They committed robberies in Argentona, Badalona, ​​Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, ​​Mataro, Girona and Reus.

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According to the Mossos, the seeding scam requires a lot of skill, as the thieves have to act in a coordinated and mechanical way in a very short time and with a very specific profile of the victim. The suspects searched for the right person for the robbery by monitoring the bank offices and acting when they saw him going to the teller. In addition, other members of the group distracted customers and workers to avoid detection and thus secure the stolen items.

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