Aussies revealed as prime targets of Israel crypto scam syndicate

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Australian residents have been identified as one of the prime targets of a sophisticated network of cryptocurrency call center scammers. The network is suspected to be run by Israel-based crime bosses.

A massive raid by Serbian, German, Bulgarian and Cypriot authorities on four call centers and 11 residences in Serbia has revealed Australians as one of the top countries targeted. The news comes from his February 23 report by The Australian.

The raid resulted in 15 arrests and the seizure of $1.46 million in cryptocurrency.

According to reports, these call center scammers used social media ads to lure victims in and offer them profitable and promising investment opportunities.

A private investigative firm told the outlet that Australians are particularly sought after by scammers because they are relatively wealthy and have a history of allegedly weak investigative efforts by federal and state officials.

“Australia’s wealth, combined with a long history of state and federal authorities being unwilling or unable to investigate online investment fraud, makes the country a prime duck for the international crime syndicates behind the scams. .”

Mark Solomons, a senior researcher at private intelligence firm IFW Global, said many Australians were “friendly” and “open-minded”, and that they were more likely to be online, especially “if the right button was pushed.” I explained that I would likely pursue a relationship.

“Australia and Canada are vying for the top spot. They’re wealthy countries with less potential for disciplined investigation and discovery.”

Solomons said much of the stolen cryptocurrency was used to fund the lavish lifestyles of scammers.

“There are Israelis who have become very wealthy by preying on Australians and siphoning retirement pensions and retirement savings from the Australian economy.”

“We are talking about different individuals flying around in private jets. They have very important assets, real estate, luxury cars and cash. They are free to travel the world and buy yachts. ,” added Solomons.

Europol reports $3.1 million stolen by multinationals, but believes the real amount “may be in the hundreds of millions of euros”.

Related: Australia ramps up crypto watchdog with ‘multi-step’ plan to fight fraud

Compared to other “resource-rich” countries, Solomons has urged the Australian government to use state, federal and and called for increased enforcement efforts at the international level.

Some reports say Australians will lose up to $2 billion to investment fraud in 2021, but the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says Australians will lose $323.7 million in 2022. reported a 75.6% increase to reach $568.6 million. according to to the consumer watchdog’s Scamwatch database.

According to the ACCC, $221 million of these fraud losses were due to cryptocurrency payments.

Fraud losses (AUD) and reported numbers: Source: scum watch.

Victims lost another $53.4 million in the first month of 2023.

To address this issue, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) released a list of “Top 10 Ways to Detect Cryptocurrency Scams” in November to raise awareness of the issue.

In July, the ACCC began trialing a cybersecurity service that automatically removes fraudulent websites. The trial was an early success, with several cryptocurrency scam sites going offline relatively quickly.