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Cybercrime, Crypto Scams on the Rise in Portugal, Say Prosecutors

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read
An image showing a hacker using a laptop PC against the backdrop of the Portuguese flag.
Source: PX Media/Adobe

Cybercrime has “skyrocketed” in Portugal – with crypto scams and ransomware attacks becoming more commonplace in the nation.

Sapo reported that, per the nation’s Attorney-General, 2,124 cybercrimes were reported in 2022. The number included an unspecified number of crypto scams.

The amount of cybercrimes reported in 2019, by contrast, was just 193. That number grew to 1,160 in 2021 – before shooting up 74% last year.

Prosecutors said:

“There were, on average, 177 complaints of cybercrime violations made every month last year.”

In addition to crypto scams, prosecutors also said there were multiple reports of ransomware – with criminals hijacking computer networks, and demanding crypto ransoms.

What Are Portuguese Cybercriminals’ and Crypto Scammers’ Tactics?

Sophisticated scammers have successfully duped victims with phishing attacks on platforms such as WhatsApp. They have also been attempting to trick victims with voice phishing attempts.

Criminals routinely pose as police officers investigating crimes, bank officials, and even Microsoft employees in a bid to dupe victims out of fiat and crypto holdings.

Crypto adoption is continuing to increase apace in Portugal. Despite the fact that the nation unveiled plans to tax crypto-related capital gains at 28% in 2022, the nation still has an international reputation as a haven for crypto traders.

This has manifested itself in the housing market. Idealista reported last week that, in 2022, Portuguese notaries drew up 13 deeds for the purchase and sale of real estate in crypto. Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH) were used as the means of payment in all of the sales.

The use of crypto in property deals is also gaining traction in both Spain and Latin America.

Blockchain startups and real estate firms in the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking worlds are also starting to offer tokenized real estate sales. Buyers have been invited to buy smaller, fractional stakes in houses – with sales conducted on blockchain networks.