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The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has taken down a network of six call centers in Lviv, used by a ring of scammers to defraud cryptocurrency investors worldwide.
Fraudsters behind these illegal call centers used VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone numbers to hide their locations while scamming thousands of foreign investors.
The SSU Main Office in the Lviv region carried out the operation under the supervision of the Prosecutor General’s Office.
During searches at the six call centers, the SSU law enforcement officers seized electronics and documents that linked the fraudsters to illegal activity:
- more than 100 items of computer equipment with headset;
- mobile devices and routers;
- forged accounting records with victims’ bank details and other documents
“According to the investigation, several locals equipped six illegal call centers in rented offices and apartments. The operators offered foreigners to invest money in stocks and cryptocurrency,” the SSU said.
“The victims transferred money to offenders’ bank cards and crypto wallets with further conversion into non-observed sector of economy.”
In related news, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said in May that more than $80 million were lost to cryptocurrency investment scams, based on stats stemming from roughly 7,000 reports received since October 2020.
This equates to a ten-fold increase, with reports showing that the median amount lost to cryptocurrency scammers was $1,900.
“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,” the FTC said.
Two months ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned cryptocurrency owners of fraudsters actively targeting virtual assets by impersonating cryptocurrency exchange or payment platforms support staff in phone calls initiated by victims of online tech support scams.
Cryptocurrency owners are advised to enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) on all their cryptocurrency accounts, deny requests to download and use remote access apps, and always reach out to exchanges and payment companies using official email addresses and phone numbers.
The FBI Criminal Investigative Division and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also warned stock market investors in July of fraudsters impersonating registered investment professionals such as registered brokers and investment advisers.
You can find more additional on cryptocurrency scams and how to report them on FTC’s website.