A Bulgarian investor has lost a large amount of money to fraudsters who convinced him he was putting cash into cryptocurrency. The scam operated through a call center in what is becoming an established scheme for extracting money from victims lured with promises of quick profits on stock and crypto markets.
A businessman from Bulgaria has transferred over 1 million leva (more than $550,000) to scammers who suggested he could earn well from crypto assets. He was persuaded by a fake consultant to send the amount to accounts at different banks, from Europe to Hong Kong.
The investor was initially contacted by a call center operated by fraudsters offering high yields on crypto investments. This communication went on for a while and they were able to convince him that he would triple his money in no time. When the man expressed interest in the proposition, he was transferred to an encrypted chat and set up with an online account.
The businessman, whose identity was not revealed by the investigators, was then offered to make a small deposit of €250 which multiplied several times in a few weeks, in virtual assets. Later, he sent tens of thousands of euros to Polish, British, and Chinese banks.
The calls center from which the targeted person got the initial call in this case was most likely located somewhere in the Middle East, Bulgarian officials said. However, the country from which the organizers of the fraudulent scheme operated is yet to be identified.
The scam is part of a recent criminal trend in Europe that entails using call centers to entice unsuspecting victims with non-existent opportunities to invest in shares of famous global companies or cryptocurrencies.
In mid-January, authorities from Bulgaria, Serbia, Cyprus, and Germany, working with Europol and Eurojust, took down a network of call centers that “lured victims into investing large amounts of money into fake cryptocurrency schemes.” In September, last year, the Ukrainian police busted a similar criminal organization defrauding investors across Europe.t