Yes, the requirement for Spanish courts to have jurisdiction to try a crime is not the nationality of the victim, but rather if there is some connection with our country, which can be of any kind:
– In cases of fraud, if the bank, broker or wallet from which the transactions are carried out has offices in Spain.
– In all other cases, if the person under investigation carried out any of the criminal acts in Spain.
– Likewise, if damage has been caused in Spain.
– If the victim was in Spain at the time of the events.
2º Are Spanish courts competent to investigate cybercrimes committed by foreigners?
Again, what is relevant is whether there is a link with our country that allows the courts to have jurisdiction, not the nationality of the offenders. Clients of all nationalities are investigated in our country.
3º Are there crimes that can only be committed over the internet?
No, the form of commission is different, but all the crimes that we are going to see below can be committed through the internet or physically, in their traditional form.
On the other hand, it should be noted that there are no different penalties for crimes committed over the internet, although some of them may have aggravating circumstances depending on the way they are committed.
There are numerous types of cyber scams, we are going to explain the most common ones:
Phishing is the sending of emails that appear to come from trusted sources (such as banks, insurance companies, etc.) but are actually intended to manipulate the recipient in order to steal confidential information.
Phishing attacks start with the receipt of an email or text message in which the sender pretends to be a real bank, company or other organisation in order to deceive the recipient. This email includes links to a website set up by the phishers that mimics that of the legitimate company and invites the victim to enter their personal data. Whether the victim or the target is located in Spain, the courts will be competent for the investigation.
Although email is still the most common means used by cybercriminals for this type of fraud, phishing can use other means of communication as well: attempts via SMS (sometimes called smishing), VoIP (vishing) or messages on social networks are frequent.
This is the illegitimate use of other people’s credit cards in order to make unauthorised charges. In a first phase, the perpetrators obtain the victim’s credit or debit card number.
They may have obtained it in multiple ways, by telephone from the victim himself, with the help of phishing, through malware or a virus that is installed on a person’s computer system and steals the passwords. There are even forums on the internet that sell card databases.
– Nigerian scam or 419 scam:
You have probably received an e-mail informing you that a distant relative has died in a foreign country and that you are the beneficiary of the inheritance. In the e-mail you are sent documents in another language that pretend to be legal in the country where the death has occurred and you are told that in order to collect the inheritance you have to provide your bank details: bank, password, etc. This type of scam is known as the Nigerian scam or 419 scam.
The sale and purchase of cars over the internet is also one of the most common types. In this case, the bona fide seller has advertised a vehicle on the internet and a supposed foreign buyer is interested in it. The fake buyer accepts whatever price the seller sets and informs him that his bank charges a commission for the international transfer. The fraudster offers to pay half of the supposed commission and asks the seller to deposit the other half. To gain trust, the fraudster often sends the seller copies of personal documents, as well as the supposed commission deposit, which are in fact forged documents. As the days go by, the seller realises that he will never receive the transfer for the value of the car.
Cyberbullying, cyberbulling or grooming
Cyberbullying can in turn constitute several offences: threats, coercion, insult or slander. Prison sentences can be up to two years.
When the victim and the alleged harasser have had a sentimental relationship (with or without cohabitation), or when the messages are addressed to descendants, ascendants or relatives of the former spouse, a prison sentence of one to two years or community service of 60 to 120 days will be imposed.
There are already numerous sentences that condemn schoolmates or other types of activities and even schools for the harassment and/or aggression suffered by a pupil.
On the other hand, we speak of grooming when we refer to harassment exercised by an adult on a child, deliberately seeking to establish a relationship of emotional control over the child in order to perpetrate a subsequent sexual abuse.
Computer-related damage crimes
Offences against intellectual property
The Penal Code establishes penalties of up to two years for those who, with the intention of making a profit and harming a third party, reproduce, plagiarise, distribute or communicate any artistic or scientific work fixed on any type of support, without the authorisation of the holders of the intellectual property rights.
If the judge observes signs of an offence, he can order the works to be removed as a precautionary measure. He can also seize the income that has been illegally obtained through copying or distribution.
Libel and slander
It usually consists of the attribution of false facts or value judgements that damage and undermine the honour of the victim.
However, it is essential to emphasise that not every expression likely to undermine the dignity or honour of the recipient is likely to constitute an offence and the task of the specialised criminal lawyer is to put into context the scope of the expression made, taking into account the right to freedom of expression as opposed to the right to honour which applies to us all.
On the other hand, the crime of slander consists of the imputation of a crime made with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard for the truth.
This type of crime committed through social networks increases the dissemination and therefore the damage caused, which is higher than that which could be caused in the physical world.
The offence can be committed through many digital media: social networks, forums, blogs and, in short, through any medium that manages to get the message to its recipient.
Inducing, promoting, encouraging or facilitating the prostitution of a minor or incapable person. (art. 187).
The production, sale, distribution, exhibition, by any means, of pornographic material in the production of which minors or incapable persons have been used, even if the material originates abroad or is unknown. (art. 189).
Facilitation of the above conducts (Whoever facilitates the production, sale, distribution, exhibition…). (art. 189)
Possession of the said material for the performance of the said conducts. (art 189)
The penalties set out in the Spanish Penal Code are the same, although sometimes the commission of these crimes through the internet can be an aggravating circumstance.
At Olimpa Abogados we are specialists in representing clients as defence and prosecution for cybercrimes, these legal proceedings are very technical and require expert lawyers, present us your case and we will answer your questions.