European law enforcement has hit a scammer operating call centers across the continent who stole millions of euros from cryptocurrency investors.
Crime-fighting officials have teamed up to tackle an organized crime group that duped unwary ordinary citizens into investing in fake cryptocurrency schemes.
as Europol I will explaina cross-border investigation resulted in 15 arrests on 11 January (14 in Serbia and 1 in Germany).
In addition, 261 people were questioned in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany and Serbia, and 22 locations were searched, including four call centers, two businesses and 16 residences.
As a result of the investigation, police seized three vehicles, computer equipment, backups, documents, and a hardware wallet that they claimed contained approximately $1 million.
Europol, which has been involved in the investigation since mid-2022 following a request from German law enforcement, says the suspects used social networking ads to drive traffic to fake cryptocurrency investment websites. .
The victims, mostly from Germany, were initially tricked into making a small investment. They are then tricked into believing that they have made a sizeable profit, and are encouraged to transfer more money to a fraudulent scheme.
Police believe many victims of fraud do not report their losses. This means call centers run by criminal gangs could have made hundreds of millions of euros.
The arrests and closures of criminal call centers come amid a growing wave of fraud related to cryptocurrency investments.
In October 2022, the FBI will warning About cryptocurrency investment scams (known as “pig slaughter scams”) that trick unsuspecting ordinary citizens (so-called “pigs”) into investing through fake crypto sites or apps.
The fake apps and websites give victims the false impression that their investments are growing exponentially, but when they try to withdraw their funds, they are told they have to pay a fee. In some cases, the website may disappear completely.
It’s not uncommon for scammers to trick victims into making an initial investment by pretending they haven’t been in touch with the victim for a long time or by pretending to be a potential romantic interest.
The FBI advises the public to:
- Validate investment opportunities from strangers or long-lost contacts on social media websites.
- Beware of domain names impersonating legitimate financial institutions, especially cryptocurrency exchanges.
- Note that often misspelled URLs that differ slightly from the actual financial institution’s website may indicate that they are fake.
- Do not download questionable apps or use them as investment tools unless you can verify the app’s legitimacy.
- If an investment opportunity seems too good to be true, remember that it probably is. Be careful with get-rich-quick schemes.