Thousands of people are believed to have lost their savings after investing in a cryptocurrency trading app called iEarn Bot.
Experts who have investigated the company say it could be one of the biggest crypto scandals to date.
Cryptocurrency trading has become popular, with people often promising large rewards for short periods.
But law enforcement agencies warn of a growing number of scams and recommend investors do “due diligence.”
iEarn Bot presents itself as a US-based company with great credentials, but when the BBC checked some information on its website, there are a few things that don’t add up. The man the site credits as the company’s founder told us he’d never heard of them. He said he filed a police report. On the website, the company does not provide any contact information.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, along with companies such as Huawei and Qualcomm, are all named as “strategic partners” of iEarn Bot, but they too said they have no knowledge of the company and are not working with it.
A customer from Romania said she lost hundreds of euros when she invested in iEarn Bot. Customers buying the bots were told their investment would be handled by the company’s artificial intelligence software, guaranteeing high returns.
In Romania, dozens of high-profile figures, including government officials and academics, were persuaded to invest through the app because it was sponsored by Gabriel Garais, a leading IT expert in the country. Garais says he too was tricked into investing his savings in the app and lost his money.
The number of investors is quite high. In Indonesia, for example, iEarn Bot claims to have 800,000 customers.
The BBC has also seen conversations where people, claiming to be from iEarn Bot customer service, told investors that in order to withdraw their money, they had to pay a 30% fee.
Desperate people paid another 30% fee but didn’t get their money.