A network of 11,000 fake investment sites

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Scams that rely on fake investment sites are nothing new. However, cybersecurity researchers from Group-IB have just discovered a massive and organized network made up of more than 11,000 domains, with a whole infrastructure.

The scam begins with an advertisement or publication on social networks. Scammers use fake testimonials, often from well-known personalities, to promote their fake investment sites, as well as YouTube accounts and Facebook compromised. The victim then comes across a site displaying completely invented opinions and amounts received. She is then invited to enter her information, then receives a call from an “advisor” who encourages her to invest, with a minimum amount of 250 euros.

This publication aimed at the Dutch tries to make believe that the banks would be afraid because the Belgian personality Gert Verhulst invested money.  © Group-IB

An investment account with a dummy dashboard

Once scammers managed to getsilver, the scam continues. The victim then has access to a dashboard, with false figures, which is supposed to show him the progress of his investment and encourage him to add even more money to increase his profits. The deception only becomes apparent once the victim attempts to withdraw their winnings. She is then asked to deposit even more money to reach the minimum withdrawal limit and the system repeats itself in a loop. Scammers are then free to reuse the information collected or resell it on the dark web.

The researchers identified a total of 11,197 domain names used in this network, of which 5,091 are still active. It contains sites targeting all of Europe and North America, but the majority specifically targets the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Norway, Sweden and the Czech Republic. One of the best ways to identify this kind of scam is to find reviews on independent sites or forums. These fake sites usually disappear after a few weeks, or even a few months at most.

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