• 15 individuals were detained on suspicion of running a large-scale crypto scam operation
• The criminal gangs operated call centers, employing 200 ‘traders’ to target victims in different languages, offering deceptive investment options in cryptocurrencies and commodities
• Victims from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, and Australia have lost millions of euros as a result of the scam
European authorities recently shuttered a large-scale operation of call centers and detained 15 suspected crypto scam individuals in raids conducted on January 11, 2023. The operation was conducted after German authorities requested an investigation in June of last year. Europol, in collaboration with the national law enforcement of Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Serbia, launched raids in 22 different sites. The operation resulted in the capture of 15 people, 14 of them in Serbia and one in Germany.
The criminal gangs operating the fraudulent call centers employed 200 “traders” who used different languages, such as English, Russian, Polish, Hindi, and German, to prey on victims by offering deceptive investment options in cryptocurrencies and commodities. The victims were defrauded of at least 3,000,000 euros per month. Investigators believe that German victims have lost more than 2 million euros, but disclosed that victims from other nations have also fallen prey to the fraudsters.
The investigation revealed that the criminals used a wide variety of tactics to scam their victims. They used fake accounts and websites, as well as false promises of high profits, to lure victims into investing in their counterfeit digital currencies. They also used sophisticated technology to stay one step ahead of law enforcement.
The scammers were also adept at using social engineering techniques to gain the trust of their victims. They used fake Facebook profiles, manipulated search engine results, and even sent fraudulent emails to potential victims.
The Europol investigation has so far been successful in shutting down the massive crypto scam. However, it is expected that similar operations may be carried out in the future, as fraudsters attempt to make money off of unsuspecting victims. The Europol has urged citizens to exercise caution when investing in digital currencies and to research any company before investing. It is also important to be aware of any suspicious activity and to report any fraud cases to the authorities as soon as possible.