Spanish police arrested here five members of a ring that allegedly used e-mail scams to defraud unsuspecting foreigners out of more than 1 million euros ($1.3 million).

The group targeted victims in the United States, Norway, Poland, Canada, Britain, Pakistan and Italy, the Directorate-General of the Spanish National Police force said Friday.

The modus operandi consisted of hacking into e-mail accounts of citizens of those countries and using them to send requests for money to people on their contact list to resolve a personal matter.

The ring also promised large sums of money from inexistent inheritances or lucrative business opportunities once advance payment was made for supposed administrative fees, a scam commonly known as a "Nigerian letter."

The investigation was launched after a group of individuals of Nigerian origin was discovered carrying out these illegal activities.

Those suspects used false identities to open bank accounts where payment from their victims was received.

A portion of those fraudulently obtained proceeds was sent abroad using money-transfer firms, a job entrusted to two Spanish individuals - a man and a woman - so the wire transfers would go undetected. EFE