310 arrested in mammoth 419 scam manhunt

Over 300 people have been arrested in Spain in a massive 419 manhunt.

The arrests occurred in Malaga on the south coast and were in connection with a $362 million scam. 166 properties were raided as police seized 2,000 mobile phones, 327 computers, and $264,000.

The 310 arrested are believed to be part of a 419 scam in which spam emails are used to fraudulently convince people to give away their money. According to officials the Spanish operation has claimed at least 20,000 victims so far in the U.S., the U.K. and Europe.

"Anyone who has an email account which isn't protected by anti-spam software will be all too familiar with email scams which claim they have won fortunes, or offer rewards for anyone prepared to help move money from far flung countries," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at antivirus company Sophos. "The sad fact is that these scams are still managing to fool people, and organized criminal gangs are profiting from the naivety of internet users."

Earlier this month SC reported four people faced charges in Spain in connection with an internet fraud scheme believed to have been orchestrated in Eastern Europe. The work at home scheme could be linked to 419 groups.

"These arrests represent a significant victory for the computer crime authorities, but the battle is far from over," said Cluley.

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