Singapore’s financial watchdog recently released a publication, alerting the public about a a suspected bitcoin scam parading false statements made by an ex-Prime Minister. Authorities say the alleged fraudsters used fake statements published on a phony website to steal funds from unsuspecting victims.
Creating fake bitcoin investment schemes using well-known personalities continues to be a popular tactic among crypto fraudsters. Authorities in different jurisdictions urge investors to do proper research before putting money into any venture to avoid falling victims to these elaborate crypto scams.
Another Fake Celebrity Bitcoin Scam
In a bid to fleece unsuspecting potential customers of their funds, the owner(s) of a fraudulent bitcoin trading website used statements allegedly made by a prominent ex-minister of Singapore, Goh Chok Tong. Goh was Singaporean’s Prime Minister and later Senior Minister, who also served as the Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
Per a publication on the MAS website on Wednesday (July 31, 2019), the scammers set up a fake website, Bitcoin Loophole, which published falsified statements about bitcoin made by the ex-minister.
The article in turn, was to lure visitors of the website to deposit a minimum of $250 for bitcoin trading. Furthermore, the financial watchdog stated that these bad actors have used names and images of prominent government officials to carry out fraudulent bitcoin activities.
One of such instances happened on September 2018 when scammers created a fake website and published a statement by the MAS Chairman, Tharman Shanmugaratnam. The fake article was intended to mislead customers into divulging sensitive financial details.
Scammers got busy again in January 2019, by spreading fake information via fraudulent websites that the Singaporean government was planning to adopt a virtual currency as the official currency. The scammers went further to state that a company was officially marketing the cryptocurrency.
In all scenarios, the fraudsters always asked the readers to provide sensitive details (financial and personal), including bank account details. However, the MAS asked the general public to be wary of websites asking for personal or financial information. Also, the public should report suspicious investments to Singaporean authorities.
The Continued Menace of Crypto Scams
Fraudulent crypto schemes have continued to thrive, with inexperienced investors being the primary target. One of the hallmarks of the fake bitcoin scams is the promise of exorbitant returns on investments. Most times, investors are promised over 100% return on their investments.
Crypto scammers in June 2019 floated a crypto investment scam in the name of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed. The scheme operated from Ukraine and Argentina attempted to deceive people into depositing the sum of AED 1,000 for a huge return on investment (ROI) after seven days.
Back in April, France’s financial watchdog, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), warned investors of a bitcoin scam that was targeting young people. According to the AMF, the platform was not registered with the regulatory body and therefore was conducting unregulated trading activities in the country.
Blockonomi recently reported that fraudsters impersonated the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to run a bicoin scam via email, with a promise of high returns on investment. Also, there was a report about crypto criminals impersonating Bakkt in order to steal bitcoin. The fraudsters set up a fake Bakkt website where readers would register by providing personal details.
Afterward, the readers are sent a bitcoin wallet address where they pay bitcoin into to participate in Bakkt’s second funding round and reap the profits of their investments.
In 2018, Lukas Stefanko discovered that three fake cryptocurrency apps on the Google Play store that were used to steal information and funds from unsuspecting users.