Cryptocurrency crimes are on the rise ever since these do-no-gooders realized how much money they can rake in. In Hong Kong, cases like these have skyrocketed in recent months with the most recent being scammed with tens of millions of dollars.
Cryptocurrency crooks bagging millions from a businessman
The person that recently got conned was a 30-year-old businessman as he tried to cash in on rallying cryptocurrency prices, though, sadly, he lost HK$124 million (US$15.9 million) in the process. The incident happened back in June after a group who disguised themselves as cryptocurrency consultants and eventually ran away with his money. This after the price of the digital currency that the victim invested in began taking the plunge.
Reports suggest that the businessman was approached by a couple of men and a woman who are also in their 30s and introduced themselves as the above-mentioned. It was learned that the cryptocurrency that the victim invested in was Filecoin as this was recommended to him by those con artists assuring the merchant of huge returns.
When all is agreed upon, the victim handed over the money in a couple of installments – a payment in February and another one in April. As mentioned, Filecoin’s price went down significantly. From $168 at the time of the scam, it plunged to $73 and this sounded the alarm for the businessman as he tried to withdraw what he invested. He tried reaching out to the group, but to no avail.
Not only are adults are getting victimized by these people as there were reports of teenagers getting ensnared into this as well. One of them is a 14-year-old secondary student who is said to have borrowed HK$500,000 (US$64,000) from his family only to get scammed by these crypto crooks.
According to reports, he told authorities that he came across with post on social media back in March about old banknote acquisitions as he later on contacted those buyers. The student was asked to purchase HK$8,000 (US$1,000) worth of Google Play gift cards alongside a so-called “customs clearance fee“in 12 installments.
He was then instructed to purchase bitcoin (BTC) for HK$497,500 (US$ 64,000) and transfer the BTCs to their wallets. And just like what happened to the businessman, these sickos just disappeared.
Another scam worth noting is those fraudulent investment scams that involve newly launched cryptocurrencies with an initial coin offering. It’s almost as similar to a pump-and-dump, though unlike the usual M.O. in the west where these tokens are endorsed by well-known online personalities to hype up its price (I.e. SaveTheKids token), Con men persuade their victims for these sketchy coins which can’t be pegged to a market price, not to mention their values are very well poised to drop face first. Since it’s new, those who fell for it cannot cash these out as
some of these scam tokens don’t even exist.
Authorities in Hong Kong reveal that a total of HK$214 million (US$27.5 million) from 496 cryptocurrency scams were lost due to these illegal practices during the first six months of 2021. Hong Kong police force’s cybersecurity Superintendent Fan Chun-yip stated that these individuals prefer doing their illegal activities on crypto transactions rather than bank deposits and this continues to be a trend over the years.
Steve Anderson is an Australian crypto enthusiast. He is a specialist in management and trading for over 5 years. Steve has worked as a crypto trader, he loves learning about decentralisation, understanding the true potential of the blockchain.