Another scam is in the books. This time, the culprits come from Australia, who have been charged with formulating a “cold calling” scheme that cheated many people out of nearly $2 million in Australian dollars.
Australia Has Played Home to Scams Before
The crypto space is wrought with fraudulent activity. Among the most common methods are SIM-swapping, which involves a hacker or hackers obtaining access to a person’s mobile phone. They are typically able to bribe employees of their cell phone carriers who wind up handing over the individual’s private information such as their date of birth, account usernames and/ or passwords in exchange for a bit of money. The hacker is then able to interfere with the user’s accounts, some of which may be cryptocurrency-based.
Another common method for stealing information and funds is known as crypto jacking. The system involves a hacker obtaining access to a person’s computer without their knowledge or permission. All the while, the hacker is mining new cryptocurrency units – usually Monero, which is popular for its quasi-anonymous properties – while the computer owner earns nothing except for unusually high energy bills at the end of each month.
And, of course, there are fraudulent initial coin offerings (ICOs). Typically, companies just starting out seek to raise capital by offering up their services and products in exchange for capital. Any funds give investors access to the company’s newly designed cryptocurrency, which can ultimately be traded and used within its platform.
However, many of these startups either disappear once they earn the money they need or cannot garner enough through the offering to keep things running. The company vanishes, and the investor is stuck with a bruised ego, lighter pockets and a useless coin.
Queensland police in Australia report arresting five people for potentially cheating investors out of money and enticing them to invest their crypto funds into a phony enterprise known as Exmount Holdings Group. The culprits gave investors the impression that Exmount was a legitimate venture – a newly-established business with a call center, a sales staff and even a website.
Unfortunately, no aspect of the business was real, and while investors were enticed into making “trial investments” on the promises of huge profits, all wound up taking massive hits to their portfolios.
Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence of the Financial and Cyber Crime Group explains:
When victims attempted to withdraw their capital, they could not. Their money was gone and any attempt they made to contact the company, or the staff, was unsuccessful.
The five people involved in the scheme have been charged with fraud and are scheduled to appear at different dates in an Australian court.
Be Careful Regarding Any Unsolicited Messages
Lawrence further states:
Be wary of any unsolicited telephone calls or emails offering investment opportunities and seek independent advice from friends, family or financial advisors.