Authorities in Germany, Bulgaria, Serbia and Cyprus have busted a cryptocurrency fraud ring in collaboration with Europol. “The suspects used social media ads to lure victims to websites secretly operated by the criminals, which apparently offered exceptional cryptocurrency investment opportunities“, detailed Europol.
Authorities are cracking down on cryptocurrency scams.
Europol announced Thursday that authorities in Bulgaria, Serbia, Cyprus and Germany, together with Europol and Eurojust, have dismantled “call centers selling fake cryptocurrency“.
The criminal network that operated through call centers, “lured victims into investing large sums of money in fake cryptocurrencies“, Europol explained, elaborating:
The suspects used social media ads to lure victims to websites secretly run by the criminals, which apparently offered exceptional cryptocurrency investment opportunities.
Fifteen people were arrested in connection with this case, while 261 were questioned and 22 locations were searched, including four call centres. Authorities also seized three hardware wallets containing about $1 million in cryptocurrency, about 50,000 euros in cash, three vehicles, electronic equipment, documents and data backups.
The victims, mostly Germans, were initially convinced to invest small amounts. “False price increases that led to allegedly lucrative profits for investors then caused them to transfer larger amounts“, the EU law enforcement agency noted, adding:
At the moment, it is estimated that the economic damage suffered by the German victims amounts to more than two million euros.
Europol also revealed that there are also victims in other countries, including Switzerland, Australia and Canada.