Authorities believe that crime bosses in Israel are running an advanced cryptocurrency call-center scam targeting residents in Australia. Earlier in the week, the Australian authorities released a report stating that authorities from Serbia, Germany, Bulgaria, and Cyprus carried out a large-scale raid on four call centers and 11 residences in Serbia. The investigation revealed that Australian citizens were the primary targets of the scam.
As a result of the raids, law enforcement agents arrested fifteen individuals and seized $1.46M in digital currency. The report suggested that scammers from these call centers took advantage of social media adverts to draw in potential victims and present them with what appeared to be profitable investments with attractive returns.
Australians Among Top Targets Of Multi-Million Dollar Crypto Scam
Private investigation firms reported that scammers consider Australians a prime target due to their relative wealth and what they perceive as a lack of investigation by government bodies. Therefore, it is conceivable that Australia’s economic prosperity, coupled with its weak investigative capabilities, makes it an easy target for international criminal organizations.
Mark Solomons, the Senior Investigator at the international intelligence agency IFW Global, believes that Australians’ willingness to be “friendly” and “open-minded” may lead them to be more vulnerable to online relationships, particularly if the scammer knows how to “push the right buttons.” He also remarked that Australia and Canada have the highest rate of scams since they are wealthy and often lack the necessary investigations and checks to detect them.
Solomons declared that many of the earmarked digital assets are employable in financing the con artist’s luxurious existences. “Israelis are becoming extremely affluent from exploiting Australians and draining away superannuation and retirement funds from the Australian economy.”
Solomons further reported that those implicated in the crime possess the means to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle, such as a fleet of high-end automobiles, luxurious real estate, private jets, and large sums of money. These people have the freedom to travel the world and purchase expensive yachts.
Europol Uncovers Hundreds of Millions of Euros Lost in Investment Scams Across Australia
Europol estimates that the total amount stolen by criminal organizations is likely in the hundreds of millions of Euros, though the number officially stands at $3.M, according to reports. Solomons has encouraged Australia to take more decisive enforcement actions at the state, federal and global levels to discourage people from taking advantage of Australian investors.
Compared to other countries with ample resources, Australia must increase its enforcement efforts to make it less attractive for scammers, Solomons said. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch database has revealed that Australians lost $323.7M in investment scams in 2021, with those losses increasing by a staggering 75.6% to $568.6M in 2022.
Of the total, crypto payments accounted for $221M of the scam losses. The ACCC’s figures are significantly lower than other reports claiming Australians lost up to $2B in 2021.
To tackle this difficulty, the Australian Securities Investment Commission (ASIC) gave out a listing of the “top-10 means to recognize a crypto scam” in November to increase the alertness of the issue. Nevertheless, Victims have forked out an extra $53.4M in the opening months of 2023 alone.
The ACCC, in July 2022, initiated experimenting with a cybersecurity service that swiftly brings down fraudulent websites. This trial was initially successful, with several crypto scam sites facing swift offline action.
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