Illegitimate Call Centers Defrauding Foreign Cryptocurrency Investors Were Taken Down by SSU
Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) Said that Thousands of Investors Worldwide Have Been Tricked.
Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) experts have taken down an illegitimate network of call centers located in Lviv. Scammers used the centralized offices to steal money from foreigners who thought they were investing in cryptocurrency.
How Did the Scam Work?
The perpetrators behind this operation used covert channels of IP telephony to get in touch with customers. According to the specialists, the fraudulent scheme deceived thousands of foreign investors.
An investigation on the incident showed that several Ukraine-based individuals equipped six illicit call centers in rented workplaces and apartments. The foreigners were told they would invest money in crypto and stocks.
The victims transferred money to offenders’ bank cards and cryptowallets with further conversion into non-observed sector of economy.
During the searches, law enforcement officers confiscated over 100 items of computer equipment with headsets, mobile phones, and routers. They also found fake accounting documentation containing the victim’s bank information and other files with proof of illegal activities.
As per the SSU press release, the investigation is in progress to prosecute those who are involved in illegal activity.
The operation was conducted by the SSU Main Office in the Lviv region jointly with the SSU Department of CI Protection of the State`s Interests in the Sphere of Information Security under the supervision of the Prosecutor General’s Office.
Is Investing in Cryptocurrency Risky?
A few months ago, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published their Data Spotlight Consumer protection report where it raised significant concerns of cryptocurrency investments related risks. According to the report, over $80 million were lost due to cryptocurrency scams.
According to statistics, the standard amount lost to cryptocurrency scammers was $1,900, which is a ten-fold rise.
The numbers are especially striking for people in their 20s and 30s: this group reported losing far more money on investment scams than on any other type of fraud, and more than half of their reported investment scam losses were in cryptocurrency.
In July, the FBI warned cryptocurrency owners, exchanges, and third-party payment platforms that threat actors were actively targeting virtual assets in attacks. According to the FBI, the attackers used several tactics to steal and launder cryptocurrency, that includes technical support fraud, SIM swapping, and also taking control of their targets’ cryptocurrency exchange accounts through identity theft or even account takeovers.
Recommendations for Crypto Owners
It is recommended that cryptocurrency owners enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) on all of their cryptocurrency accounts and turn down requests to download and use remote access applications.
Also, they are advised to always contact exchanges and payment firms even if they are using legitimate email addresses and phone numbers.