By the end of the year 2022, crypto scammers have shifted their focus towards duping cryptocurrency investors. They potentially target those crypto investors who are desperately trying to cope with their year-long losses. The European government agencies had led international law enforcement operations. They have also joined crypto entrepreneurs and businesses to restrict crypto online investment fraud or cross-border crypto scams since July 2022. They had also unveiled a criminal network operating through the call centers.
Two EU agencies for law enforcement cooperation, namely Europol and Eurojust, joined the authorities of Cyprus, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Germany to investigate crypto online investment fraud in June 2022. The investigation was also successful in identifying a criminal network that caused a huge loss of over $2.1 million Euros. This loss was primarily for German investors.
🚨 Call centres selling fake crypto taken down in Bulgaria, Serbia & Cyprus.— Europol (@Europol) January 12, 2023
🪙 The criminal organisations lured 🇩🇪 victims to invest over EUR 2 million in bogus crypto investment websites.
Details ⤵️https://t.co/sP21aOn8WY pic.twitter.com/jfF7xsuog9
Europol states that the cross border crypto scammers in question had lured victims from Germany, Australia, Switzerland, and Canada, among others. They did this to invest in the bogus crypto schemes and websites causing crypto online investment fraud. Eventually, this led to an operational task force that is completely focused on cross-border investigation. For more latest updates on cryptocurrency crime, visit https://cryptoventurenews.com/category/cryptocurrency-news/crypto-crime-news/.
The cross border crypto scammers were operating across four call centers in eastern Europe. They lured the potential victims by offering rewarding profits on small investments. This motivated them to make even larger investments. Taking into consideration the number of unreported cases, Europol has suspected that the total losses could be somewhat hundreds of millions of Euros.
While the investigation was still in process, 261 individuals were questioned including two people in Bulgaria, three in Germany, two in Cyprus, and 214 in Serbia. With the help of the investigation, the EU agencies searched 22 locations and in that search, 30 were arrested. The agencies had also seized heavy cash, electronic equipment, documents, vehicles, and hardware wallets.
There are still cross border crypto scammers impersonating government officials and businesses via crypto online investment fraud. The crypto community, however, maintains a proactive approach to weaken scammers through proactive warning announcements, hack prevention fixes, and public education.
Cryptocurrency industry losses in 2022 totaled 3.9 billion dollars, according to a report by bug bounty and security services platform, Immunefi.
The majority of the losses were caused by hacks, while fraud, scams, and rug pulling accounted for the remaining 4.4%. The two most targeted blockchains were Binance Coin (BNB) and Ethereum (ETH).
To rebuild investor trust, Immunefi’s CEO Mitchell Amador suggested: “proactively identifying and addressing vulnerabilities.”
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