An international police operation led by Europol led to the arrest of cryptocurrency scammers targeting users all over the world.
An international law enforcement operation conducted by authorities from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany and Serbia, supported by Europol and Eurojust, has dismantled a cybercrime ring involved in online investment fraud. The European police have supported this investigation since June 2022 following an initial request from German authorities.
“The suspects used advertisements on social networks to lure victims to websites covertly operated by the criminals, which offered seemingly exceptional investment opportunities in cryptocurrencies.” reads the press release published by Europol.
The gang was using call centres to lure victims into investing large amounts of money into fake cryptocurrency schemes. The suspects used advertisements on social networks to lure victims to websites covertly operated by the criminals, which offered seemingly exceptional investment opportunities in cryptocurrencies.
According to the press release published by Europol, 261 individuals have been questioned, some of whom are awaiting prosecution (42 in Bulgaria, 2 in Cyprus, 3 in Germany and 214 in Serbia);
The police searched 22 locations (5 in Bulgaria, 2 in Cyprus, 15 in Serbia) including: 4 call centres and 11 residences in Serbia; 2 residences in Cyprus; 2 companies and 3 residences in Bulgaria.
The police also seized three digital wallets containing about $1 million worth of cryptocurrencies, about €50,000 ($54,000) in cash, three cars, computers and backups, and documents.
“Seizures include 3 hardware wallets with about USD 1 million in cryptocurrencies on it and about EUR 50 000 in cash, 3 vehicles, electronic equipment and data back-ups, documents.” continues the press release.
Most victims, mainly from Germany, were initially lured into investing low sums, then they were persuaded to make transfers of higher amounts.
The financial damage to German victims is over two million euros. The bad news is that this is the tip of the iceberg because a large number of frauds were unreported by the victims, for this reason, overall financial damage could be in the hundreds of millions of euros.
(SecurityAffairs – hacking, cryptocurrency)
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