MASAK, affiliated to the Ministry of Treasury and Finance, continues at full speed to fight against illegal betting and gambling gangs.
The institution revealed the illegal betting organization, which included about 2 thousand people in a month. It was determined that the people in question managed the money collected in betting and gambling sites that carry out illegal activities.
It was understood that the size of the money managed by the organization exceeded 10 billion liras.
While the bank, electronic money and crypto exchange accounts of the persons who have been deciphered are blocked, the proceedings for the confiscation of the remaining assets in the account continue.
They lure people into the system with the promise of getting rich the so-called easy way.
The sanction of illegal playing of betting and games of chance in sports competitions in Turkey is regulated by the “Law on Arrangement of Betting and Games of Chance in Football and Other Sports Competitions”. In particular, playing virtual bets over the internet and mediating the transfer of money collected from bets played were considered as prohibited acts. In addition, gambling and gambling constitute a crime according to the Turkish Penal Code.
Virtual betting is offered with algorithms targeting especially young people over internet channels that people of all ages can always access easily.
It has been determined that the advertisements of these sites are widely featured on social media, they are designed to be flashy and bright, and that they try to attract the attention of young people and connect them to the system with the promise that it opens the door to getting rich in the so-called easy way.
It is known that illegal betting barons not only do this job, but also use the revenues they get from them in the drug trade in the financing exchange in question. It is even stated that some bookies play a role in the financing of terrorism.
How are the coins collected?
When you enter the betting sites, there are many game options. These options can be related to one of the sports competitions, as well as to other unheard of activities and competitions.
There are not only betting but also betting-like computer games and even live gambling rooms on the sites.
First of all, people are asked to create a membership and it is obligatory to provide personal information such as name, surname, telephone number, Republic of Turkey ID number for this membership. Afterwards, you are asked to deposit money into your betting account. When it comes to the deposit page, there are dozens of options, but almost all of these options are quite dangerous and are designed to expose people to cyber fraud.
For example, when people want to deposit money through the bank, bank account numbers, customer numbers, and interactive passwords can be requested. After this information is given, the money is automatically withdrawn from the account and transferred to the betting accounts. Thus, the gangs in question have seized the victims’ personal information, as well as their bank accounts and passwords.
In addition to bank accounts, money can be deposited from electronic money accounts, cryptocurrencies and card systems (bank or credit card).
The journey of the bet money
The money deposited is tried to be laundered in many different ways. At this stage, rental accounts come into play.
While the money deposited in betting sites does not go to a corporate account, especially young people who are intertwined with technology and who frequently use social media channels are reached to open bank, electronic money and crypto money accounts. Then, the user information of these accounts is bought from these young people in exchange for small benefits and the accounts are used to collect the money of the bettors.
There may be hundreds or even thousands of accounts that a betting organization uses at the same time. Account holders often do not know how much money is in their account. Accounts are rented for 5-6 thousand liras per month.
Sometimes, they can use their accounts without making people feel. In this method, called phishing, advertisements are placed on social media or short messages are sent to phones.
In these advertisements or text messages, the person’s attention is drawn with promises such as “You have won a gift, you have won a scholarship”, and this person is opened an account in an electronic money and / or crypto money institution.
After the account is opened, information to manage the account such as user name and password is requested. When people are fooled by these, the betting gang that took over the account turns millions of liras into this account within a few days. After the account has been used enough, it is left, new victims continue to be sought.
Accounts that collect money from gamblers first hand are called sub-collector accounts, but the organization is not made up of sub-collectors. The money accumulated in the lower collectors is transferred to the higher level accounts within minutes or even seconds. The money accumulated in the next level continues to the higher level. The number of these tiers can vary from 5 to 10. As you move up to the top level, the number of accounts decreases and the amounts increase. Dirty betting money circulates rapidly and continuously between bank accounts, electronic money accounts, cryptocurrency accounts.
24/7 surveillance and intervention in the fight against fraud and illegal betting
A special team works within the MASAK Presidency to detect and prevent illegal betting gangs and fraudsters from laundering proceeds of crime through the financial system.
This team analyzes big data and carries out monitoring and control activities on a 24/7 basis.
It combines big data obtained from electronic money and payment institutions, banks and crypto money exchanges within the financial ecosystem to combat fraud and illegal betting.
“Do not rent your accounts, do not tarnish your future”
MASAK aims to identify people at the top of the money organization rather than players or sub-collectors. Accounts of high-level organizers are blocked, but it is possible that people who rented their accounts for small sums during investigations may also be harmed due to their complicity. At the beginning of these damages are the deterioration of the criminal record, the inability to open an account in the bank easily.
Therefore, MASAK warns especially young people, “Do not rent your accounts, do not tarnish your future”.
Attention to e-Money, crypto and virtual POS applications
In the examinations made by the MASAK Presidency, virtual POS devices, especially on electronic money and crypto exchanges and sign companies, come to the fore.
The fact that transactions in electronic money institutions and crypto exchanges are carried out in virtual environments, not face to face, on the one hand facilitates access to financial services, on the other hand, it creates a world of attraction for criminals due to the security vulnerabilities it creates.
Penalties of up to 50 million liras were imposed on crypto exchanges
Currently, electronic money companies are supervised by the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey and MASAK, while there is no authority other than MASAK to supervise crypto exchanges. Since the first inspections that started in May 2021, more than 20 crypto exchanges have been inspected, and heavy fines of up to 50 million lira have been issued so far.
In addition, MASAK provides data from crypto asset exchanges and carries out surveillance activities on behalf of the public.
“After receiving the virtual POS, the attack begins”
Another tool used in both illegal betting and other financial crimes is virtual POS’s. Generally, signage companies with only one partner, unemployed or with a very low financial profile, without address, without employees, without receipts and invoices, take their breath away at the bank or electronic money institution after receiving the tax plate, and ask for a virtual POS to be allocated to them.
After the virtual POS’s are received, the attack begins. If the virtual POS is to be used for illegal betting, when entering the betting site and selecting the credit card option as a payment method, the site directs the person to this virtual POS or these POSs work directly in connection with phishing sites. Even if the site is not very reliable, “What will happen if I get scammed for a 300-500 lira purchase?” When the card information is entered, 1000-2000 TL can be withdrawn from the accounts. When the fraud is discovered, it’s too late. These signage companies are transferred to others after 3-5 months of operation.
According to the findings, illegal betting gangs and fraudsters are mostly the same organizations, and then use the identity / e-mail and payment information they obtained in membership to the illegal betting site in fraud.