Uncovered platforms show fabricated evidence of enrichment and falsified celebrity endorsements to create an image of legitimacy and lure in a larger number of victims. Fake investment scams have been around for long enough so that people could recognize them easily. For instance, in 2021, Artefaktum detected a massive bitcoin scam campaign in Germany and Switzerland which used the names of local celebrities. Nevertheless, no matter how old the scheme is, it keeps bringing money to fraudsters.
During the last months, deep investigations revealed a huge amount of (still operative old, but also brand new) fake investment schemes which are targeting European citizens. In the course of the research, a gigantic network infrastructure was uncovered and analyzed, which contained over 10,000 rogue resources, including similar fraudulent ones aimed at the inhabitants of the entire Eurasian continent and North America.
During the research, it was noticed that the following countries are being targeted with the Fake investment scheme:
- Czech Republic
The main goal of these fake investment schemes is to convince the victims to repeatedly transfer funds to the fake investment portal. The victims are usually promised huge returns on their investments and are shown “how I got rich” stories featuring celebrities.
Legitimate looking investment sites are popping up everywhere. We see them on various social media networks, which include the massive platforms of Youtube and Facebook.
The message displayed on those platforms makes it seem like there is a bulletproof service of making an online income. The messages state that the service is used by famous people globally. This can be from Elon Musk to local German (like Thomas Gottschalk to Dieter Bohlen) and other European celebrities. The message continues to state that it is a unique offer and that you just need a minimal deposit of 250 euros to get started.
The scam disseminates deceptive information as though ‘Dieter Bohlen’ has surprised experts and is frightening the banks, all because he made an investment. The fake investment scheme illegally exploits the name and the image of this famous person to lure the victims to click on the link. Dieter Bohlen is a Germany composer and music producer, presenter, actor and singer. He is known in Germany as “Poptitan” and for his television presence in the show ‘DSDS’.
Additionally, the victim will leave a comment below the hyperlink, stating that with 250 euros the victim was able to have a profit of 700 euros in just 3 days.
In some cases, specially created rogue Facebook pages were being used to spread the fake investment scheme post via the advertisement capabilities on Facebook.
After registering with contact details on fake Landing pages, victims will receive a call or mail. The fraudster is trying to lure users to contact him. Once contacted by the victims, the scammer will assist the victims in creating the needed profile to start with the investment, and also assist in getting the initial minimal 250 euro deposit.
The ultimate goal is to lure the victims into visiting fake investment portals.
The scammers behind this scheme try to maximize their impact and set up the same scheme with different templates that cover specific topics.
- Register an account
- Replenish the balance on their previously made account
- Bombard the victims with success stories
- Why do you want to invest?
- How much can you invest?
- How do you make your money?
- How much time do you spend on work?
The lifetime of fraudulent sites varied from several days to several months (the more victims the site brought, the faster it went offline and its mirror was raised on another domain).
At the moment of writing, from those 11,197 domains, 5,091 still remain active.
The conclusions do not represent the official position of competent authorities, including law enforcement agencies, do not contain direct accusations of committing crimes or other unlawful actions, and are analytical and informative in nature.
All personal data including names, images, video and audio records and any other information on identified or identifiable individuals are published herein for the purposes specified above in the public interest.