In what experts say is the biggest crypto scam to date, thousands of people are believed to have lost their savings after investing in a cryptocurrency trading app called iEarn Bot.
Roxana (real name changed), a Romanian who requested anonymity said she lost hundreds of euros using iEarn Bot. Clients like her were persuaded that the company’s artificial intelligence software would manage their money. Moreover, the company promised substantial returns upon investments.
“I invested in a bot for one month,” she told BBC. “You could see in the app how many dollars the app was creating: there were graphics showing how the investment was progressing.
“It looked quite professional until, at some point, they announced maintenance.”
“Some people started to say ‘I cannot withdraw… what is happening’,” Roxana said. “I made the request to withdraw and the money just disappeared. The portfolio became zero – but I was never credited on my wallet with any money.”
During a BBC investigation, the company’s credentials turned out to be extremely fictitious. It pretends to be a US-based business whose founder is a man who has reported them to the police authorities because he has never heard of them.
Not only that, but guess who the company’s strategic partners are? The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Huawei, and Qualcomm are on the list but they are not affiliated with the business and have no knowledge of it.
The business doesn’t have any contact information on its website and its Facebook page, which is run out of Vietnam and Cambodia, was promoting weight-loss items until the end of 2021.
The European Center for Law Education and Research’s Silvia Tabusca, a Romanian expert on organised crime, started researching iEarn Bot after learning that many people in other nations had also lost money in the scam.
“From what we have seen, the number of investors is quite high,” she says. “In Indonesia, for example, they [iEarn Bot] claim they had 800,000 customers.”
The company laid a strong focus on encouraging investors to sign up new users for the app. “The way people in this company operate is more similar to a Ponzi scheme than an actual business,” says Tabusca.
Cryptocurrency trading has grown in popularity. Users are frequently promised significant gains over little periods of time. Nonetheless, law enforcement officials issue warnings about increased fraud and urge investors to exercise caution before putting their money online.
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