Ukrainian Police Bust Crypto Fraud Call Centers

  • Authorities in Ukraine claim to have exposed a network of call centers in the country engaged in financial fraud targeting domestic and EU citizens.

    The criminal group’s ‘employees’ apparently used software to spoof phone numbers, so that they appeared to be calling from legitimate banking institutions.

    After cold calling their victims, the scammers would pretend to be staff at these banks in order to trick them into handing over their card details.

    In what appears to be another scheme, the fraudsters used fake websites for the trading of currency, cryptocurrency, securities, gold and oil in order to attract investors, guaranteeing them big profits.

    A third scam involved targeting foreign victims of cryptocurrency scams. They would pretend to be phoning from the fictitious ‘Community of Cryptocurrency Brokers’ and offer to return stolen funds for a commission.

    “After receiving consent to return the lost money, people were sent details for transferring the ‘commission’ to the accounts of the participants in the criminal scheme,” explained the National Police of Ukraine (NPU). “After receiving the funds, communication with the ‘brokers’ was interrupted and payments were not made.”

    The NPU teamed up with the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) to carry out the investigation.

    Officers conducted authorized searches at various unnamed locations and seized computer equipment, mobile phones and draft records that confirmed illegal activity.

    The Ukrainian authorities have been working hard to crack down on cybercrime even as their country comes under attack from Russia.

    In June, they arrested nine alleged members of a prolific phishing gang that made 100 million hryvnias ($3.4m) by luring locals with the promise of financial support from the EU.

    Fake call centers are increasingly a key element of transnational crime in the region.

    Earlier this month, Group-IB released details of a huge investment fraud campaign using 10,000 rogue websites localized for users in the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Norway, Sweden and the Czech Republic.

    Once victims filled out a contact form on these sites, they would receive a follow-up call from a fraudster.