Unknown cryptocurrency scam
Investment fraud: a persistent phenomenon with high loss amounts
Making big money fast - who doesn't dream of that? But if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Ever so often, stories about easy money, bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies draw people's attention to dubious investments on the internet, sometimes robbing them of their entire savings. The phenomenon is called "cybertrading fraud".

Channels that the perpetrators use for their scam are advertisements on the internet or in social networks, calls from call centers or mass emails - most of you have probably already been made aware of such a product.

How the perpetrators proceed

The perpetrators usually operate from abroad. They often exploit the inexperience of their victims for their criminal activities. In advertisements on websites, they encourage their victims to invest in shares, cryptocurrencies, etc. in order to receive an alleged return that could have a lasting positive impact on their lives.

These advertisements often contain supposed reviews from other investors who give the impression that they have made a lot of money with this investment. The criminals use online investment platforms specially created for this scam, which do not actually exist, to get their victims' money. These platforms are professionally created and at first glance leave no doubt as to their seriousness and authenticity. They have manipulated software that can be used by the criminals to their advantage to display share charts for the victim as they see fit.

Appearances are deceptive

The money invested is not invested, but disappears into criminal networks. The actors in the networks work independently of each other - they are not necessarily the same criminal groups. This structure makes investigations much more difficult.

In addition, the modus operandi is constantly evolving, meaning that the perpetrators are always using new methods to conceal the flow of money.

In principle, it is also possible for the investor's interest to be aroused in advance by a contact person via an online dating service such as Tinder, Badoo, LinkedIn, etc. This contact person tells the potential investor about unusually high profits with a low stake and then establishes contact with a client advisor.

In the further course, the use of remote maintenance software to access the victim's computer or end devices is also conceivable - as alleged help from the fraudsters. This allows the alleged consultants to take control of the victim's computer and ultimately also their accounts.

Checklist for your security

There is a very high risk of loss when trading online. Fraudulent websites are difficult to recognize at first glance. Potential investors should therefore check the trading provider for the following features1:

  • Inform yourself about the trading platforms before signing up or transferring money
  • Is there information on the website about the operator or creator of the website? Are contact persons named? Is there information on where the company is based (Germany/abroad)?
  • Do not disclose any sensitive data
  • The risk of fraud is high with investment forms in which you are unfamiliar. Get serious advice! Use the services of consumer advice centers or specialist lawyers or simply ask your bank for their opinion.
  • Be critical of the promise of high profits.
  • Solicited advice in connection with investment opportunities (telephone advertising, emails) is generally prohibited without prior consent.
  • Do not give anyone access to your computer using remote maintenance software (e.g. AnyDesk or Team Viewer).
  • Beware of identity theft: Do not send copies of your ID documents.
  • Do not transfer money to unknown foreign accounts of private individuals or supposed companies based abroad.
  • Check the legal notice on the Internet: Is it complete, does it contain an address, an authorized representative and an e-mail address?

 

[1] https://www.polizei-beratung.de/startseite-und-aktionen/aktuelles/detailansicht/vorsicht-vor-online-anlagebetrug/

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In urgent cases: Police emergency number 110