A bitcoin scam network has been dismantled by authorities in Germany, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Cyprus working with Europol. According to Europol, “the suspects used social media adverts to entice victims to websites secretly run by the criminals, which promised ostensibly great cryptocurrency investment prospects.”
Authorities Striking Back Against Bitcoin Scams
Authorities from Bulgaria, Serbia, Cyprus, and Germany, working with Europol and Eurojust, have shut down “call centers peddling phony cryptocurrency,” according to a statement released by Europol on Thursday.
According to Europol, the criminal network “lured victims into investing substantial sums of money into fraudulent cryptocurrency scams,” elaborating:
The suspects lured victims to websites secretly run by the thieves via social media adverts that purported to offer extraordinary cryptocurrency investment opportunities.
In connection with the investigation, 22 places were searched, including four contact centers, and 261 persons were interrogated, leading to the arrest of 15 people. The authorities also seized three vehicles, electronic devices, papers, and data backups in addition to three hardware wallets carrying nearly $1 million in cryptocurrencies and roughly 50,000 euros in cash.
German-born victims predominately were originally persuaded to invest small quantities of money. The EU law enforcement body noted: “Fake price increases resulting to apparently lucrative rewards for investors subsequently induced them to undertake transfers of bigger amounts.
At this time, it’s anticipated that German victims have suffered financial losses of more than €2,000,000.
Europol also disclosed that there are victims in Switzerland, Australia, and Canada, among other nations.