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  • Writer's pictureGlobal FTI Team

Police in the EU Raid Scam Call Centers

European law enforcement agencies have struck a significant blow against scammers operating call centers across the continent, which defrauded cryptocurrency investors out of millions of Euros.

Authorities collaborated to dismantle organized criminal groups that deceived unsuspecting individuals into investing in fraudulent cryptocurrency schemes.

According to Europol, a cross-border investigation led to the arrest of 15 individuals on January 11 (14 in Serbia and one in Germany).

Additionally, 261 individuals were interrogated in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, and Serbia, with searches conducted at 22 locations, including four call centers, two businesses, and 16 residences.

During these raids, police confiscated three vehicles, computer equipment, backups, documents, and hardware wallets containing approximately $1 million.

Europol, which has been part of the investigation since mid-2022 following a request from German law enforcement, reported that the suspects used social media ads to direct traffic to fake cryptocurrency investment websites.

Victims, primarily from Germany, were initially persuaded to invest small amounts of money. They were then misled into believing they had earned substantial profits and encouraged to invest larger sums into the fraudulent schemes.

Authorities suspect that many victims have not reported their losses, indicating that the call centers run by the criminal groups may have profited hundreds of millions of Euros.

These arrests and the shutdown of the fraudulent call centers come amidst an increase in cryptocurrency investment scams.

In October 2022, the FBI issued a warning about cryptocurrency investment scams, often referred to as "Pig Butchering scams." These scams deceive unsuspecting individuals (the "pigs") into investing in fake crypto platforms or apps.

These fake apps and websites create the illusion that investments are growing exponentially, but when victims attempt to withdraw funds, they are informed they must pay a fee. In some cases, the website may disappear entirely.

Fraudsters often pose as long-lost contacts or potential romantic interests to entice victims into making initial investments.

The FBI advises the public to:

  • Verify the legitimacy of any investment opportunities from strangers or long-lost contacts on social media.

  • Be vigilant about domain names that mimic legitimate financial institutions, particularly cryptocurrency exchanges.

  • Watch out for misspelled URLs, which may indicate fraudulent websites.

  • Avoid downloading or using suspicious apps for investments unless their legitimacy can be confirmed.

  • Be wary of investment opportunities that seem too good to be true and remain cautious of get-rich-quick schemes.

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