Scams remain a pressing problem in the cryptocurrency industry in 2023. Criminals attempt numerous tactics to steal people’s crypto assets. In addition, fraudulent call centers are a relatively undocumented threat, although Europol has shut down several centers recently.
Fraudulent call centers target crypto investors
Those new to the cryptocurrency industry may gawk at the numerous investment opportunities. The industry is home to over 10,000 coins, tokens, assets, and projects. Most of them are worth nothing, and some argue altcoins are a waste of time. Investing in Bitcoin and Ethereum is always the safest bet, although diversification remains crucial. That said, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Criminals try their hand at operating call centers to make people invest in fake crypto projects. It is akin to penny stock scams a decade or two ago. Users will be promised hefty returns on investment, yet almost everyone will lose money in the long run. Always research projects before investing. If there is no transparency or roadmap, the project won’t go anywhere and it isn’t worth investing in.
The growth in popularity of fraudulent crypto call centers is problematic. So much so that Europol, Eurojust, and authorities in various European countries coordinate their efforts. The criminals targeted users in Germany, Australia, Austria, and Canada. In addition, they took millions of Euros from the victims. It remains unclear how many have been affected as there are massive transaction logs to sift through.
Fifteen people were arrested on January 11. Furthermore, the task force questioned 261 individuals across Bulgaria, Serbia, Germany, and Cyprus. A total of four call centers were identified as “facilitating this scam”, along with 15 homes and two other undisclosed companies. Europol seized three hardware wallets holding over $1 million in crypto assets, data backups, computers, luxury apartments, etc.
How do these call centers operate?
The call centers in Serbia were heavily advertised through social networks. These ads would lure unsuspecting investors to the operation. Investors would then be directed to various websites where they could deposit funds to watch funds accumulate. In addition, all contact between the scammers and their “clients” occurred over the phone in native languages. It is a well-thought-out scheme that involves tremendous staffing to pull off.
When you see advertisements regarding cryptocurrency investing, ignore them. There is no reason to use a third party to set up your crypto portfolio. The industry doesn’t require brokers or account managers. Users control their money and spend it as they see fit. That also means taking responsibility if something goes wrong, but that is part of the financial freedom cryptocurrency provides.