Wondering how scammers got your phone number? Man who worked in European scam ‘boiler rooms’ targeting Aussies reveals the tricks they use to steal your money
- An anonymous whistle-blower has revealed the workings of scam centres
- An insider has opened up about how Australians are targeted on the phone
- Hackers can access your information through fake cryptocurrency websites
A scam artist who conned strangers into investing up to $500,000 into bogus cryptocurrency schemes has revealed the tricks of his trade.
The scammer said he made 300 phone calls a day working in European ‘boiler rooms’ run by organised crime gangs that regularly targeted Australians.
The man, who spoke to the ABC under the condition of anonymity for fear of being killed by his former employer, said he chose to speak out to clear his conscious.
‘These people that are the bosses of these companies, they are very high people in the country here,’ he said.
‘They are protected by gangs driving in bulletproof cars and everything, and my life is at stake from that.’
Scam centres often deceive employees into joining by telling them they are working for ‘finance companies’ and by the time employees realise it’s a scam it’s too late for them to leave
The anonymous whistleblower said his colleagues were typically college educated and fluent in multiple languages.
He said the crime gangs would run advertisements on social media to give their fake cryptocurrency websites an air of legitimacy to lure victims in.
Once victims visited those websites and entered their details – they would be passed on to the scam centres.
An anonymous whistlebower has revealed the inner-workings of international scam centres after working in eastern Europe ‘boiler rooms’ for two years (stock)
Scammers can quickly assess their targets’ dreams of what crypto could do for them and use that information to manipulate victims into giving a ‘deposit.’
He said the first deposit would usually be around $250, which would then be followed up with a meeting with a ‘financial advisor’ for larger investments.
The man told the ABC he had seen one Australian lose $500,000.
Experts estimate a whooping $42 million is lost from the Australian economy each year.
The most important thing for people to remember is to hang up, the man said.
‘You cannot make money with any broker who is calling on the phone.’
Never send money or give credit card details, online account details or personal information to anyone you don’t know or trust.
Before investing any money, seek independent financial advice
ASIC’s MoneySmart website has information on investing in cryptocurrencies.
If you feel you may be dealing with a scammer, stop talking to them and block them.
If you have sent money to the scammer contact your financial institution immediately.
How to spot a scammer
Be cautious when people request payment via cryptocurrencies. While cryptocurrencies are gaining popularity they are not a standard payment method.
Be suspicious of investment opportunities that promise a high return with little or no risk.
Only invest as much as you can afford to lose. Scammers will often lure people by requiring a low initial investment, but will then use high pressure tactics to encourage you to invest more.
Think twice about taking financial advice from someone on a dating app, through a social media site, or an online dating site.
At this time, an Australian government agency will not request payment via Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.