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Spanish police have arrested five men in connection with what appears to be the biggest Internet dialler fraud in history. More than 45,000 victims lost a stunning €35m to the scam, Spanish newspapers report.

The five scammers operated out of Madrid and Pontevedra in Galicia. The team, all men, and most in their mid-thirties, created over 150 Web pages filled with music, cars and pornography. When victims visited these sites, a premium rate dialler was installed on their PCs. The program would then call out to high rate numbers starting with the prefixes 906, 907 and 806. Most victims were swindled into paying €3,000 or more.

Internet dial scams are popular all over Europe. Last year a 39-year-old Italian man was arrested because he used a virus which altered the Internet dial-up number used by victims to a premium rate line. ®

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