Since its inception in 2018, a previously unidentified investment fraud group called ‘CryptosLabs’ has taken EUR480 million (or 505 million) from victims across France, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Group-IB’s cyber-intelligence firm reported that ‘CryptosLabs is among the most organized crime groups. It includes kingpins and sales agents as well as developers and call-center personnel.
This criminal group creates websites impersonating over 40 European banks, institutions, NFT investors, asset management and other banking services using its own scam tool.
The CryptosLabs network was mapped by Group-IB, which reported over 300 sites hosted on 70 servers.
They are often used to scam victims by claiming they are investing in pig butchering. This prolongs the fraud period and increases the possibility of the scammers making financial gains.
Pigs get slaughtered
CryptosLabs is an investment fraud targeting French-speaking Internet users. It lures them to fake investment websites via malign advertising on Google Ads, social media platforms, and posts on investment and social media sites.
Advertisements and posts promote investments that promise high returns with virtually no risk.
Victims click the ads to be taken to a landing site where they will need to fill in their information. These details are used by call-center agents to follow up with victims.
The victim is then provided with login credentials by the agent at the call center to gain access to the fraud investment platform.
These 300 scam sites have different templates, but the JavaScipt code is similar. This indicates that one group is responsible for all.
The victim logs in for the first time and deposits between EUR200 ($315) and EUR300 ($315) to a virtual account. The victim sees their investments grow rapidly and exponentially, as well as falsified performance charts.
CryptosLabs’ scam kit includes a CRM platform. This allows operators to view victims profiles and get an overview about their campaigns. They can also communicate via chat or IP telephony with the victim.
The scammers use social engineering techniques to con the victim into investing more.
The “Pigs” continue to invest until the victims realize that they can’t withdraw funds, even after paying “release fees.” This is just one last money grab.
The scam is over when the victim loses significant money. This is why the term “Pig Butchering” was given.
“The Group IB team knows of at least twenty victims in France that signed up for the same trading platforms, and together handed over EUR280,000,” commented Anthony Abihssira .
According to Group-IB estimates, CryptosLabs could earn as much as EUR480 millions in all-time earnings.
The Group-IB has notified the impersonated companies of the fraud sites, and shared its findings in France with law enforcement authorities. However, the CryptosLabs campaigns continue.
Avoid falling for investment frauds and treat guarantees of returns as red flags. Before you deposit any money, verify that the platform is legitimate.