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Almost 2 thousand victims: the fall of the mega-scam of fake Internet credits that the PDI dismantled

There were four regions in which the Investigative Police (PDI) raided a series of homes to arrest 25 people, who, according to the information handled by the civil police, were involved in a mega scam. Mechanism that sought to deceive people through false credits delivered over the Internet.

The investigation carried out by the Metropolitan Economic Crimes Brigade (Bridec) began around 1,800 complaints received by the Public Ministry nationwide, which reported the same way of operating after this deception. The mechanism used by the criminals consisted of creating false banking entities through the Internet, which offered supposedly easy-access credits, which were generally attended by people who did not meet the requirements to carry out said transaction in the established entities.

In general, customers learned about the credit offering through an Internet search and then went to their websites. Access was even offered through social networks and with the offer of quick money. With this contact came deception. The head of the Metropolitan Bridec, prefect Marcelo Romeroexplains that through WhatsApp the false lenders “They digitally sent documents that simulated being the loan application to create greater credibility and seriousness in the process.”and so that the victim had the conviction that he was really dealing with a company that is dedicated to lending money.”

But it didn’t stop there. As the prefect explains, “after that, after the victim sends him a signed credit application and a photocopy of her identification document, as is usual in this type of procedure, The counterparty requested money prior to granting the credit for ‘operational expenses’, which were considered notarial expenses and mainly for insurance associated with the loan.” Finally, the loan was never delivered, but the fake bank kept the money requested for the procedure.

In addition to the thousands of complaints from the direct victims of this type of scam, the Commission for the Financial Market (CMF) was also added, an organization that also accused these false institutions before the Public Ministry. As a result, the national prosecutor, Ángel Valencia, grouped all investigations into the alleged financial entities that offer false loans over the Internet and assigned the investigation to the O’Higgins Regional Prosecutor’s Office in March 2023.

The beginning of this investigation assures the regional prosecutor of O’Higgins, Emiliano Arias, “It was the confirmation of the existence of an unusual increase in scams committed through the Internet, which are generally archived because they are scams of very low amounts.” For this reason, massive data analysis and artificial intelligence tools were used to carry out this investigation.

From that, and from the investigation carried out by Bridec, they began to carry out various procedures to find those responsible behind these false banking entities. The head of Bridec explains that the work began, “identifying the websites, verifying whether they are current or not, tracking IP addresses, identifying telephone numbers and names of people who appear as contacts or supposed executives on these pages.” In that sense, Romero explains, it was possible to identify about 50 sites of which used IP to change the location.

In that sense, Arias explains that “These are pages that were created abroad, they are not from Chile, but from various countries in America. We are also investigating that aspect. “We are investigating it together with the Attorney General’s Office of Colombia.”

The subprefect Jorge Zapata from the High Complexity Preferred Investigation group O’Higgins, who also participated in this investigation, explains that “the investigation was based in a first stage, on data analysis, that is, quantifying the number of victims, the number of operations and accounts to which these people had deposited, because here we are not dealing with a single defendant.”

With that defined, explains Officer Zapata, one of the complex points of this investigation is that the person who carries out the scam is not necessarily the one who receives the money, “but they recruit receivers throughout the country to provide their accounts”people who sometimes – like the victims – also need money, which they agree to in exchange for a commission.

For this reason, the investigative team began to filter the number of people who had received the deposits, limiting at this stage the investigation to those who were the “front line” of the scam as they were the main recipients of the payments. The investigation led by prosecutor Arias allowed arrest warrants to be issued – for now – for 41 people who had this role.

In that sense, since Monday, April 22, the Bridec of the PDI has carried out raids in the regions of Tarapacá, Metropolitana, Valparaíso and Los Ríoswho have allowed the arrest of 25 people, who do not necessarily have a relationship between them, but did share the way of operating, facilitating their accounts for this mega scam that would exceed $ 1,000 million.

All those detained so far, and those who remain to be arrested, They are being investigated for the crime of invasion of bank transfers and fraud. for the receipt of money obtained illicitly. Of all the accused, five of them were remanded in preventive detention after being formalized in the Rancagua Guarantee Court, where it was proven that along with receiving money, they also recruited more people to use their accounts.

But since this was only the first part of a large investigation, prosecutor Arias affirms that “Now comes a stage of analysis and then the extension to persecution”, so investigators continue to investigate those who lead these scams. Subprefect Zapata explains that “these people have more advanced knowledge” in technological matters to “be able to create these apparently legal platforms and be able to deceive people.”

The head of the Metropolitan Bridec concludes by recommending and remembering that credit applications – and their processing – are always done in person and not through social networks. Romero also calls for “verify the commercial reputation or possible disclaimers that exist on the Internet of the names of the pages with which they are interacting, review the CMF where false institutions that have been detected are constantly being published, reported and generated alerts.”

And finally, you should consider that if you are requesting money, the financing entity never asks for a payment in return. “If they ask you for money to lend money, they should suspect that it is a possible scam.””, concludes the PDI officer.

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