Online Cryptocurrencies Fraud caught by Europol’s Operational Task Force

Online Cryptocurrencies Fraud

European countries have been struggling with online cryptocurrency fraud that has been done by a criminal gang open via trunk calls. How the whole event happened, let’s discuss about it.

Online Cryptocurrencies Fraud

In this cyberattack, millions of users were victimized by the crypto fraud network. The countries like – Germany, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Siberia (Region), Australia, Austria, and Canada were the ones victimized in the chaos.

To stop the adversaries from attacking more countries, Europol, Eurojust, Judicial, and Law Enforcement Officials started a secret operation in June 2022. That is to find out about the whereabouts of Online Cryptocurrency Fraud.

Continuously, all of the attacks were done via Call Centres. Adversaries offered victims with schemes involving – Hefty Investments in Fake Crypto Schemes. To stop these massacres, an Operational Task Force were deployed by Europol to run an in-depth investigation.

Online Cryptocurrencies Fraud

This group supported by, dismantle the crypto fraud network which targeted innocent users from various countries such as

  • Germany
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Canada

The amount of fraud reached in Millions of Euro. But, the actual count of victimized users is still not known. That’s because a huge amount of financial payments were followed.

Event, Report

11, Jan, 2022

The operational task force, made a count of 15 arrests cases. 14 of those were suspects caught in Serbia, where 1 got caught in Germany. Moreover, 261 were taken into custody to ask some questions included

  • 12, Bulgaria
  • 241, Serbia
  • 3, Germany
  • 2, Cyprus

Some of them are yet in prosecution.

In whole, officials found out

  • 250 Workplaces
  • 22 Locations (5 countries)
  • Countries
  1. 5, Bulgaria
  2. 15, Serbia
  3. 2, Cyprus

During investigation, various locations and workstations were followed:

  • 4 Call Centres
  • 11 Homes in Serbia,
  • 2 Companies
  • 2 Homes in Bulgaria,
  • And 2 Homes in Cyprus.

3 Hardware Wallets were seized by the investigation team consisting of Cryptocurrencies ($1 Millions), and €50, 000 in cash. Several other things were also seized in the secret attack:

  • 3 Vehicles
  • Data Backups
  • 150 Computers
  • 2 Luxury Apartments
  • Electronic Gadgets
  • Documents

Scam Process

Now, you might want to know how the total scam were run by attackers? Let’s find that out.

Press Release, Europol

  • Adversaries run the call centres from Serbia. Moreover, they used social media networks to promote their events and schemes.
  • Plus, in Bulgaria, they took help from tech infrastructure for operational purposes.
  • Cyprus was found to be the base for all money laundering operations.
  • A huge amount of investors followed the scheme via ads on social media platforms.
  • Through the ads they were redirected to fraud websites run by adversaries.
  • In the initial stages, they were asked for minimum, & 3 digits payments.
  • After a few times, the amount raised for the investment.
  • Adversaries contact users via phone while using the native languages of users (English, and German).
  • Victims followed the scheme and invested huge amounts of transactions, which obviously they lost.

The Operational Task Force searched and seized all call centre areas in Siberia.

NOTICE

Team was formed in 2021 to follow the scam, collaborated (The Public Prosecutor’s Office (PPO), Stuttgart, Germany, and The State Office of Criminal Investigations, Baden-Württemberg. A meeting were organized, Nov, 2022 to plan The Action Day, Judicial, Financial, and Logistical support for the Task Force.

 

On-Ground Investigation

Following departments were alerted to conduct the operations of investigation.

Bulgaria: General Directorate National Police and Investigative Department in Sofia City PPO under the supervision of the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office

Cyprus: Crime Combating Department, Office for Executing European Investigation Orders and Letters of Request Limassol/Pafos Branch

Germany: PPO Stuttgart; State Office of Criminal Investigations Baden-Württemberg; Police Headquarters of Aalen and Reutlingen

Serbia: Special Public Prosecution Office for Combating High-Tech Crime; Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia – Service for Combating Organized Crime.

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