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Italian Crypto Fraudsters Use the Central Bank Logo In Social Networks

06-09-2018 12:37:00  |   Regulation
According to unofficial estimates, in Italy alone, the annual turnover of cryptocurrencies by social network scammers is 3 bln euros. Organized crime stands behind the numerous accounts of self-styled financial structures. The philosophy of the fraudsters is simple: it is much easier and more profitable to steal money in the virtual space than to rob a man with a firearm on a high road.

Neapolitan media Il Mattino reports that an anonymous website, positioning itself as a platform for investment and the purchase of cryptocurrencies, tells the "striking" story of the Neapolitan Ciro Esposito. The story says that after his dismissal in 2016, 35-year-old Ciro, who initially was crypto sceptical, had a wife and children, was finally engaged in Bitcoin trading. The money started flowing and there is a proof image of a 40,000 euro check in the name of Ciro Esposito, issued by the Central Bank of Italy.

The truth is that such checks simply do not exist.


It seems that this is the first documented case when Central Bank’s logo was used by organized crime. The financial institution reports that the legal service of the Central Bank of Italy has already submitted an application to law enforcement agencies.

The injured party, the Central Bank of Italy, has its hands tied: the protection of investments against fraud relates to the competence of the supervisory organ Italian Companies and Exchange Commission (CONSOB), and unfair advertising relates to the sphere of activity of the Antimonopoly Office of Italy (Antitrust). Cybersecurity investigations are carried out by several law enforcement agencies at once: special services, postal police and the Financial Guard. The absence of a single regulator in the field of cryptocurrency crime gives criminals a great chance to avoid the well-deserved punishment.

How are Italian scammers operating?

The most basic way of drawing attention to a scam website is the launch of fake news. Here’s the example of a headline: “Bitcoin is preparing for a new leap- the very moment for the new millionaires. Catch your chance!” An explanation comes next: those who have invested 100 euros in Bitcoins in 2010 now have millions on their accounts. Experts predict that the bitcoin boom is about to start. But you need to act immediately!

The victim is lured to the sites of fake cryptocurrency dealers, who ask to register and provide a phone number. This will be followed by dozens of calls from promoters with offers of fantastic income in the shortest time with minimum investment.

Right after the point when credit card details become known for scammers, the damage becomes irreparable. First, the attackers withdraw 40-50 euros, notifying the "client" of the net income received in the virtual wallet. Within 2 weeks, the situation changes dramatically: larger amounts are being regularly withdrawn from the victim’s account under the guise of buying new Bitcoins. Then promoters stop responding to phone calls and emails. The victim has only two steps to make: block access to the credit card and bank account and submit an application to law enforcement agencies. However, this does not mean that the money will be returned. Crypto fraudsters often register offshore companies in states that do not have legal assistance agreements in criminal matters with the country where the crime was committed.

Another way to cheat unsuspecting clients is making the fake video with influential financiers and top managers. One of the well-known cases is the re-edited video with Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt, and the king of traders Warren Buffett. Their phrases about bitcoin were out of context and spoken at different times. The video was supposed to create the impression that their earnings were the result of crypto trading.

Meanwhile, the Italian Authority for Communications Guarantees (AGCOM) received 500 reports of violations in the field of telecommunications and the use of websites for fraudulent and criminal purposes in particular.

However, the slowness of the Italian justice been the talk of the town for a long time.

The story was submitted by Vsevolod GNETII, Bitnewstoday correspondent in Italy.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

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