Belgium Issues Warning To Citizens About 99 Crypto Scam Sites

The government of Belgium recently warned its citizens about 99 different cryptocurrency scam sites that have been stealing money from unsuspecting investors. Many of the sites run the same simple scam where they pretend to sell cryptocurrency, when in reality they just take payments and give nothing back in return.

The Belgian Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) has issued numerous warnings this year and is continually adding scam sites and suspect brokers to various public watch lists.

Regulatory Environment

While these lists are extremely helpful for potential investors, it is important to note that Belgian regulators have been extremely adversarial toward cryptocurrency over the years. As with many jurisdictions around the globe, the regulatory framework that crypto will take in Belgium is still very unclear, but the country's government has taken steps to indicate that they will do what they can to discourage the use of crypto within their borders.

Last year, Koen Geens, the Minister of Justice of Belgium formally proposed that the government restrict the use of cryptocurrency, even to the point of confiscating crypto holdings.

Despite the uncertain regulatory climate, cryptocurrency adoption is still growing in the region. Earlier this year, Data released by Statista showed that Antwerp, the second largest city in Belgium, now has three crypto ATMs.

Crypto scams and security remain a serious concern for the industry. Earlier this month, CryptoGlobe reported that popular YouTube stars, the Hodgetwins, who have a following of over 4 million subscribers, recently revealed that they had thousands of dollars worth of EOS stolen from them through a malicious wallet that they downloaded from the App Store.Save

Israeli Hacker Indicted For $1.75 Million Cryptocurrency Theft

A hacker from Tel Aviv named Eliyahu Gigi was recently indicted for his alleged role in stealing roughly NIS 6.1 million (or $1.75 million) in cryptocurrencies from people in numerous different countries, including Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

According the indictment filed this week, Gigi operated numerous scam websites that infected computers with malware that would steal cryptocurrencies that were stored on the devices.

The hacker stole nearly $2 million worth of bitcoin, ethereum, and dash, before they were arrested in June of this year. Gigi carefully covered his tracks by attempting to use remote servers and doing his best to conceal the cryptocurrencies and the wallet addresses that they were stored in.

He then transferred the currencies between different wallets, split them into different cryptocurrencies and used other tactics to obfuscate the ownership of the funds.

During the investigation, it was initially suspected that Gigi was guilty of stealing $100 million, however, once the investigation was concluded, that number was significantly scaled down to less than $2 million.

According to the Israeli publication Globes the investigation was conducted by the Israeli Police's cyber unit, and led to the arrest of Gigi and his younger brother, a 22-year-old demobilized soldier. The news outlet adds:

At the outset of the investigation, suspicions were raised that the two brothers had stolen $100 million from digital accounts kept in bitcoin through an international fishing fraud. The indictment eventually filed was against only the older brother, and the initial suspicions that $100 million had been stolen were scaled down to NIS 6 million. [$1.75 million]

Police were initially tipped off to the crime after receiving reports the hacker was sending messages to users on cryptocurrency forums, directing them to a website that claimed to offer wallet management software.

Some of the users who received the message thought that the website looked suspicious. Worried about their security, they reported the websites and Gigi's forum accounts to police.