Thousands of users may have lost money using crypto trading app
A dubious company called “Iearn Bot” is currently enticing people to invest money with the promise of high returns. The BBC reports online. The detailed report includes a woman from Romania who probably lost some money in this way. To protect her person, the woman is not mentioned by her real name in the report, but is called “Roxana”.
IT expert among the victims
She lost hundreds of euros, Roxana reports to the BBC. Iearn Bot encourages customers to buy bots using its cryptocurrency trading app. Special AI algorithms would therefore guarantee that this investment brings customers high returns, the company promises. She invested in a bot for a month, Roxana tells BBC reporters. Graphical representations in the app initially suggested that their plant was developing well. “It looked pretty professional,” Roxana says, “until they announced maintenance.” Your money has been frozen. When she requested a withdrawal, the money disappeared. “The portfolio was set to zero – but nothing was credited to my account.”
The use of the Iearn bot app is widespread in Romania, among other things, because the prominent Romanian IT expert Gabriel Garais supported it. Garais said he too was tricked into using the app and lost money, according to the BBC. Silvia Tabusca, a Romanian organized crime expert, researched the Iearn Bot system and found that many people in other countries lost money using it as well. “From what we’ve seen, the number of investors is quite high,” she told the BBC. “In the beginning, the app works very well. When they have enough investors, enough has been invested in a certain country, they no longer allow that country and open other countries.”
Obviously incorrect information
In a lavishly produced YouTube video, Iearn Bot presents itself as a US-based company with excellent references. A Canadian entrepreneur and financial expert is named as the company’s founder. The man told the BBC he had never heard of Iearn Bot and had lodged a complaint with the police. In the video and on its website, the company also names a number of “strategic partners,” including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Huawei and Qualcomm. MIT and the companies mentioned also said they were not aware of the company and would not work with it.
According to Tabusca, Iearn Bot urges customers to refer more people to the app: “The way people act in this company is more like a Ponzi scheme than a real company”. The BBC has received chat conversations in which people posing as members of the Iearn Bot service team told investors that they would have to pay a 30 per cent fee to withdraw their money. “Some people were dying to get their money back and paid that fee – but they still couldn’t withdraw anything,” Tabusca told the BBC. Journalists have repeatedly asked Iearn Bot for comment, but have yet to receive a response.
Sudden payment stop
In some countries, including Nigeria and Colombia, local politicians have been pushed by so-called Iearn Bot mentors to organize outright recruitment events for new clients, according to the BBC; communication with the “mentors” took place via Telegram. In Colombia, the company halted its payouts in December and informed customers that investments in the cryptocurrency USDT were currently being converted into a new coin called iBot. Iearn Bot asked investors to wait until March when iBot should be officially launched. Apparently, however, customers are still waiting to access their funds.
With the help of an analyst, the BBC managed to identify a major crypto wallet that received payments from around 13,000 potential victims, raising nearly $1.3 million in less than a year. However, the reporters could not understand where and to whom the money went.
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