Four 'cybertrading' scammers arrested in Bulgaria
Four suspects were arrested last month in Bulgaria for defrauding wannabe investors of millions of euros through a series of websites and call centers in a scheme that authorities described as cybertrading fraud.
One German, one Israeli, and two Bulgarian nationals were detained on July 27 during a raid at a call center in Sofia, Bulgaria's capital, German prosecutors said this week.
According to officials, the four ran at least four websites advertising professional cryptocurrency and stock investment and trading consulting.
Users who signed up on the sites would typically be contacted by phone by a call center operator, who'd recommend various financial and trading schemes.
"[The victims] were offered allegedly lucrative investments in the area of so-called binary options, CFDs, Forex, or cryptocurrencies in phone calls and emails," German officials said.
"Some of the victims invested large sums of money on supposed trading platforms on the Internet. In fact, the money ultimately flowed into the accounts of the alleged fraudsters via complex money laundering networks," officials added.
"In some cases, the bona fide investors invested large sums of money — in one case from the Ansbach district alone, an amount in the six-figure range was stolen in this way."
German law enforcement began investigating the scheme after receiving complaints earlier this year. The scheme allegedly targeted German-speaking users and netted the fraudsters profits in the realm of millions of euros.
Websites operated by the group included:
- alphafinancialgroup.com (offline)
The investigation was led by officials from the German state of Bavaria, from the cities of Ansbach and Bamberg.
German prosecutors have filed extradition orders with Bulgarian authorities. Equipment seized from the call center raids is also being investigated to uncover additional suspects.
Catalin Cimpanu is a cybersecurity reporter for The Record. He previously worked at ZDNet and Bleeping Computer, where he became a well-known name in the industry for his constant scoops on new vulnerabilities, cyberattacks, and law enforcement actions against hackers.