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Scammers and hackers never rest, and now they’re targeting Europe. A huge network of fraudulent websites has been discovered recently, asking for investments that will never thrive. This type of investment scams seems old for crypto, but now it’s been discovered and analyzed with more detail.

The cybersecurity firm Group IB recently published a complete report about the matter. The malicious network doesn’t have a fixed name, instead, they’re constantly changing titles and domains. Even the kinds of investment they offer vary from traditional stock trading and gold to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Of course, everything is just smoke and mirrors.

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Bitcoin Norway, one of the fake domains. Source: IB Group

The journey for the victims usually starts on social media and fraudulent media sites. They find ads or fake articles about celebrities promoting these malicious platforms. For the minimal investment of 250 EUR, they promise daily gains and even a quick fortune. The more investment, the more promised gains.  

After the victim clicks on the ad or shows interest, they’re redirected to fill a form with their personal data. Then, they’re phoned by the scammers, who apply more social engineering techniques to urge deposits. Once the 250 EUR are transferred, the victim is shown a personal dashboard with the supposed daily gains (but they’re fake).

It’s only when the victim tries to withdraw the money that they start to be aware of the investment scam. In order to withdraw, they’re asked for more deposits to reach the payout threshold or pay taxes. But this is just to steal more money because the withdrawal will never be allowed. The scam is complete, in a very similar style to Bitcoin Evolution (probably a part of this network as well).

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Victim journey in investment scams. Source: IB Group

Massive copies of the same investment scams

As discovered by Group IB, these fraudulent sites amount to over 11,197 domains. They include names like Quantum Trading, Gewinn Code System, Delta Stream, and Bitcoin Norway. For now, they’re targeting especially nine countries: the UK, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Norway, Sweden, and the Czech Republic.

Probably the worst thing about these investment scams sites is that they’re just copies. They won’t last much, and their lifetime depends on the number of visitors (victims) they get. “The more victims the site brought, the faster it went offline and its mirror was raised on another domain”, described Group IB.

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Besides, to lure visitors from the mentioned countries, they use local celebrities to build fake articles about malicious platforms. For example, in Belgium and the Netherlands, the scammers chose Gert Verhulst, a media entrepreneur, television producer, presenter, actor, and singer. The fake article, basically, mentions how he got richer by using the malicious platform (which isn’t true).

The best we can do to avoid these investment scams is, first, do our own research (DYOR) before transferring any funds. Search for previous reviews and non-sponsored articles may help a lot. Likewise, we should remember that if something looks too good to be true, then it’s probably not true.


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Author

I'm a literature professional in the crypto world since 2016. It doesn't sound very compatible, but I've been learning and teaching about blockchain and cryptos for international portals since then. After hundreds of articles and diverse content about the topic, now you can find me here on Alfacash, working for more decentralization.

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