Authorities in Italy and Albania have uncovered a scam scheme that lured victims with claims of low-risk cryptocurrency investments.
Investigators from the two nations raided a dozen locations during an operation orchestrated by Eurojust and seized assets and computer equipment.
Italian and Albanian law enforcement officials have shut down a website scam advertising phoney cryptocurrency investment opportunities.
With the assistance of Eurojust, the EU organisation in charge of judicial cooperation in Europe, the inquiry was conducted.
Authorities involved in the combined operation have taken property worth over $3.2 million (€3 million) from the criminal organisation that ran the hoax.
The criminals used virtual phone numbers and VPNs to contact victims over the phone and online from a call centre they ran out of the Albanian city Tirana. Customers were persuaded to create accounts and make transfers on a special website.
After researching what appeared to be reliable trading platforms, “brokers” contacted the victims and recommended “zero-risk” cryptocurrency trades.
Italy filed a criminal complaint with Eurojust in 2020, and the organisation helped the national authorities involved in the inquiry work together by, among other things, establishing a coordination centre for the effort to take down the fraud network.
Similar circumstances led to Ukraine’s Cyberpolice uncovering a crypto fraud operation in November that was generating €200 million in fictitious investments in crypto assets and securities each year.
Albania was one of many European nations who sponsored the probe into that group.