Europol and Ukraine’s Cyber Police arrested five Ukrainian citizens for their role in a pseudo-investment scheme, which defrauded victims of more than €200 million ($206,5 million) per year.
Threat actors operated via web resources and call centers set up around Europe. They contacted people with offers to invest in cryptocurrency and eventually receive high profits, trading in securities.
Although asset growth was later faked by cybercriminals, victims were not able to withdraw their earnings.
Europol concluded that hundreds of thousands of people around the world have been affected by the group’s scheming, amounting to over €200 million ($206,5 million) in illegal revenue per year.
Law enforcement searched the homes of suspects in Ukraine and abroad, as well as at the addresses of call centers in Kyiv and Ivano-Frankivsk. In total, over 500 pieces of computer equipment and mobile phones were seized.
The investigation took place in collaboration with law enforcement officers of Albania, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, and Spain, starting in 2020. As a result, five members of a large-scale international criminal scheme were exposed.
Fraudulent crypto investment schemes are on the rise, with crooks taking any opportunity they can to defraud gullible victims. By July 2022, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) detailed that over two hundred victims had been scammed out of millions of dollars via fraudulent apps promising high crypto investment rewards.
“Be wary of unsolicited requests to download investment applications, especially from individuals you have not met in person or whose identity you have not verified,” the FBI said. “Verify an individual’s identity before providing them with personal information or relying on their investment advice.”
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