Cross-border crypto scammers on the hit list for EU agencies

By the end of 2022, scammers shifted their focus to duping crypto investors who desperately tried to recoup their year-long losses. An international law enforcement operation led by European government agencies joined crypto entrepreneurs and businesses to curb cross-border crypto scams since July 2022, uncovering a criminal network operating through call centers.

Europol and Eurojust, two EU agencies for law enforcement cooperation, joined authorities from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany and Serbia to investigate online investment fraud since June 2022. The investigation identified a criminal network that incurred losses of over $2.1 million (over 2 million euros) — primarily for German investors.

Call centres selling fake crypto taken down in Bulgaria, Serbia & Cyprus.

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 (@Europol) January 12, 2023

According to Europol, the scammers in question lured victims — from Germany, Switzerland, Australia and Canada, among others — to invest in bogus crypto investment schemes and websites. This finding eventually led to the creation of an operational task force aimed toward cross-border investigation.

Operating across four call centers in eastern Europe, scammers lured potential victims by offering lucrative profits on small investments, which motivated them to make larger investments. Considering the number of unreported cases, Europol suspects total losses could be in the hundreds of millions of euros.

In the course of the investigation, 261 individuals — two in Bulgaria, two in Cyprus, three in Germany and 214 in Serbia — were questioned, 22 locations in the EU were searched and 30 were arrested. Hardware wallets, cash, vehicles, electronic equipment and documents were also seized.

While scammer continue to impersonate government authorities and business, the crypto community maintains a proactive approach to weaken scammers through proactive warning announcements, hack preventive…

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