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In a major anti-fraud operation dubbed Op Voluto, Spain’s Guardia Civil has arrested five individuals in Torrevieja and Benidorm who are believed to be involved in a card data theft scheme that touched over 2,000 petrol stations across the country.

Around October 2012 police started investigating a fraud gang that had an unusual modus operandi; they would arrive at petrol stations claiming to be maintenance crews for the card payment machines, saying they were there to attend to machine problems.

On being given access to the machines, they were able to plunder sensitive pre-paid card data that would normally be shielded by tough security measures.

It is alleged that the gang subsequently used the data at online gambling sites to illegally generate some Euro 2 million in cash from gaming, in particular at online poker tournaments operated by internet gambling sites licensed in Spain and Gibraltar.

Police searches for evidence at a number of private properties in Torrevieja and Benidorm resulted in the seizure of laptops, mobile phones, cash and other evidence relating to online gambling and illegal activity.

Investigations continue.

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