Several Israeli citizens have been arrested by police in the Philippines after a call center got raided by local law enforcement officials. The news comes amid increasing difficulties for such operations in Eastern Europe, namely in Albania and Ukraine. Unregulated brokers have been using such call centers in order to onboard clients via aggressive hot sales tactics.
According to local media reports, the operation was targeting prospective clients in Europe, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and Russia. Local law enforcement officials have singled out eight Israeli citizens as the masterminds of the operation. The names of Gal Manobla, Nathalie Green, Ishai Shalov, and Noah Hofman were mentioned in a local news report.
Police arrested 474 employees of a trading company in Pampanga on Wednesday for their alleged involvement in cybercrime.
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The call center was allegedly soliciting customers to trade stocks and is akin to a boiler room operation. That said, the possibility that an FX or binary options trading firm is involved in the matter is not out of the question. Hot sales tactics have typically been the main marketing instrument to attract clients for unregulated brokers.
The name of the company is International Branding Development Marketing Inc. As is common practice when setting up call centers which are selling highly risky financial products to unsophisticated investors, the company’s name is not in any way related to the firm which is offering the trading service.
An Elaborate Operation
According to the initial reports, the call center was pretending to represent a London-based brokerage firm. Unregulated companies have frequently misrepresented registrations and addresses in the UK. Instead of finding themselves invested with a stock brokerage, the clients of the firm got duped into providing their credit card and bank details.
Per a Business Insider report, the call centre house is allegedly closely associated with two binary option brands, FMTrader and iTrader. The two online brokers had staff members in common and shared the same office address in Israel where the police raided the latter, iTrader, in 2016 arresting seven of its top managers and salespeople.
According to local police, the Israeli citizens were managing the operation while the Filipino agents got caught speaking to clients from all over the globe. A police video shows the bust with the faces of several arrested victims seen on the local CNN channel.