The businessman transferred more than 1 million leva (about $550,000) to scammers who told him that he could make money on crypto assets. A fake consultant persuaded the man to send the amount to accounts in various banks scattered around the world from Europe to Hong Kong.
Initially, the investor was contacted by a certain call center, whose employees offered a high return on investment in cryptocurrency. The callers were able to convince the investor that he could triple income in the shortest possible time. When the man showed interest in the offer, he was transferred to an encrypted chat and an online account was created.
“The victim’s data – name and phone number – most likely were obtained through the platform on which the businessman registered,” said Vladimir Dimitrov, head of the cybercrime department of the Interior Ministry’s Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime.
Through an encrypted chat, the businessman was offered to make a small deposit of 250 euros, which increased several times in a few weeks with the help of virtual assets. Rejoicing at the cryptocurrency investments, the businessman deposited tens of thousands more euros into the accounts of scammers in Polish, British and Chinese banks.
Bulgarian law enforcers believe that the call center from which the first call came was most likely located somewhere in the Middle East. However, the authorities have not yet been able to pinpoint the country from which the organizers of the fraudulent scheme operated.
In mid-January, authorities in Bulgaria, Serbia, Cyprus and Germany, in cooperation with Europol and Eurojust (the European Union agency dealing with the judiciary), shut down a network of call centers that lured their victims to invest large sums of money in fake cryptocurrency schemes.. In September, Ukrainian police unmasked a similar criminal organization involved in investor fraud across Europe.
In January of this year, European intelligence agencies eliminated a network of cryptocurrency scammers that operated in Bulgaria, Cyprus and Serbia.. Attackers created a network of call centers that they used to deceive victims in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Australia and Canada. In December, Ukrainian police found cryptocurrency scammers masquerading as call centers.