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Brit defrauds Spanish Net users, forgets to cover his tracks

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A British man has been arrested by Spanish police investigating a stunning scam carried out over the Internet. As with all the best scams, the man used the intricacies of human behaviour to stockpile a still-unknown amount of money.

Thousands of emails were sent to Spanish Internet users "thanking" them for buying £350 worth of equipment from a fictional computer company. Their credit card would be debited the amount in two days, the email continued, but if they wished to query the purchase they need only call a free phone number, provided.

When the hordes of panicking Spaniards called what was in fact a high-toll number charging £1 a minute, they were greeted with a recorded message telling them to wait until a representative was available.

Of course, no one ever picked up the phone and the clock kept ticking for as long as the caller could stand.

The money from the calls was fed through a Chilean telephone firm to a Gibraltan company. The man was caught when Spanish policed traced the original emails to his home in Malaga where they impounded five computers.

While The Register in no way condones illegal activity, it takes off its hat to the unnamed Briton for his cunning stunt. But we also slap the back of his head for not realising how emails can be traced. Had he been a regular reader, he may never have been caught. (But then we'd not have a story, idiot - Ed.) ®

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