Thomas W. lost 25,000 francs in less than a month.
It is a click on a wrong link that ruins Thomas W.* (42). The dream of quick money with cryptocurrency costs the eastern Swiss 25,000 francs. The money is gone – lost in less than a month! W. became a victim of financial fraudsters.
“I fell for the rip-off via a fake Blick article that advertised the show ‘Lion’s Cave’,” says Thomas W. He never assumed it was fraud, because he considers the show to be serious. The entrepreneur could have used the quick profit for an upcoming investment. “That was naive and stupid. But: The whole mesh is perfectly structured,” he says.
Be it celebrities like Roger Federer (41) or TV shows like “Lion’s Cave” – scammers repeatedly abuse well-known names in order to rip off Swiss Internet users with the prospect of a quick bitcoin profit. This is also shown by the case of Désirée H.* (64) from Biel BE (Blick reported).
Scammers act serious
The cases of fraud are almost always the same. The later victims end up on an ominous trading platform via perfectly fake websites. In the case of Thomas W., this was called a TD trade. There the victims are suggested that they are dealing with reputable financial service providers. Only: “The scammers generate websites that look real,” says the Zurich cantonal police.
Thomas W. can sing a song about it. Shortly after registering, he received an email from a “Premium Financial Advisor/Senior Broker” at TD-Trade. He wrote: «My name is Dominik Poirier. We will start working together tomorrow.” From then on, W. was in contact with Poirier almost every day – in writing and by telephone. He says: “Poirier spoke good German with a French accent.” Blick tries to reach Poirier later on his German number. But the calls are answered: nobody.
W. gets talked into a “Bitcoin campaign” by his “financial advisor” in which large returns can be achieved within just two weeks. So Thomas W. invested almost 10,000 francs. This is where the real scam begins.
Watched the money multiply
The perpetrators instruct W. to deposit the money into an account at a crypto exchange. Later they tell him a specific wallet address of the trading platform TD-Trade to which he should send the money. W. does as requested.
The platform looks serious. With TD-Trade, W. can watch his money multiply practically in real time. He makes supposed profits of over 1000 francs a day. When the money he invested was worth 65,000 francs, he wanted to withdraw it. Then the problems begin.
When it comes to the payment, TD-Trade first says that he has to transfer a “declaration payment” of 14 percent of the amount in Bitcoin to his supposed crypto wallet so that the money can be paid out to him at all. W. pays almost 9,000 francs. Then later the message that he had to have a minimum number of bitcoins in his supposed wallet so that the total amount could finally be paid out. W. therefore shoots another CHF 7,000.
Immediately the friendliness of the scammers stops
Immediately afterwards, he receives a call from a fake financial services company called Blockchain saying W’s money is being blocked by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The reason: The Money Laundering Act and investigations into possible terrorist financing require this. “In order to get my blocked money released, I would have had to transfer the total amount paid in, i.e. all in all 25,000 francs, again as a so-called ‘shadow transaction’,” says W.
He says: «From here the friendliness of the scammers stopped. They started rushing me and putting psychological pressure on me to finally make the payment or I would lose all my money.” At this point, at the latest, Thomas W. understands the incomprehensible: He was cheated. He’s getting more and more desperate, Poirier writes in a Whatsapp chat: “I’m financially devastated, mentally in distress and can hardly keep myself on my feet.” The scammer’s reply: he just had to take out a loan.
Luckily, Thomas W. lets go of that. Looking back, he says: “To make so much money in the short term is utopian.” He reported the case to the police.
* Names changed