Scammers operating out of these contact centers posted advertising on social platforms.
The usage of crypto payments was responsible for $221 million of the total losses.
A complex international network of crypto call-center fraudsters, allegedly headed by Israeli organized crime kingpins, has been exposed as a major threat to Australian citizens.
Australians were determined to be among the most targeted nationalities when Serbian, German, Bulgarian, and Cypriot officials conducted a massive raid on four call centers and eleven dwellings. This was revealed in an article published by The Australian on February 23. Fifteen persons were detained, and $1.46 million in cryptocurrency was confiscated during the searches.
The report claims that scammers operating out of these contact centers posted advertising on social media sites in order to attract potential victims with the promise of high returns on their investments.
High Level of Disposable Income
Private investigation agencies reportedly informed the media outlet that Australians were a popular target for fraudsters due to the country’s high level of disposable income and the alleged lack of vigilance on the part of federal and state authorities.
Europol estimates that $3.1 million was stolen by the international organization, but that the actual amount might be in the millions of euros.
Notwithstanding claims to the contrary, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) estimates that Australians lost $323.7 million to investment scams in 2021, with that number increasing by a stunning 75.6% to $568.6 million in 2022 (all figures taken from the ACCC’s Scamwatch database). The usage of cryptocurrency payments was responsible for $221 million of the total losses, as reported by the ACCC.
An extra $53.4 million was lost by victims in the first month of 2023 itself. To combat this, in November, the Australian Securities Investment Commission (ASIC) produced a list of the top 10 methods to recognize a crypto scam, in order to educate the public.