In an unfortunate development, scammers duped the unsuspecting cryptocurrency investors of a fortune in a matter of three months in Singapore. These Scams involved online articles that used false information to promote bitcoin investments from the period between September and November. They were explicitly designed to target Singaporean residents. These online crooks had looted an estimated $78000 via such dishonest schemes reports Strait Times.
The online articles are usually paid advertisements which portray cryptocurrencies as safe, secure and highly lucrative. As an added authenticity, they were endorsed by well-known personalities, who probably had no idea of such a scheme being run in their names. In the click bait articles, these personalities attributed their riches to investments in such schemes and claimed to have earned massive profits from them.
They were designed to attract low-level investors who wanted to mimic the success of these featured personalities. People who click on the links are then taken to another website which offers investments in cryptocurrencies. They are then asked to fill out their basic details including phone number and other contact information. Once they give up these data, they receive a phone call from a supposed representative of the investment scheme. Many gullible folks fell into their trap and ended up investing their hard-earned money in return of future riches.
These fraudulent schemes are run outside the country and could not be regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). MAS also do not have a thorough crypto regulation framework. Hence, they do not guarantee any safeguards for cryptocurrency investment. When investing in schemes those are run from outside the jurisdiction of Singapore, the authorities say, that the individuals are exposed to an additional risk of fraud as it is difficult to verify their authenticity. It will also be difficult to register a case with the authorities as the law of the land does not bind the promoters of such scams.
The MAS had warned citizens about the rise of such schemes in September when the authorities flagged a website soliciting bitcoin investments. They had found statements in the site falsely attributed to Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the MAS chairman and Deputy Prime Minister. The MAS has asked people not to provide personal or financial information on any website, which encourages people to create a Bitcoin account using a bank account or credit card.
As a first step, law enforcers have asked the members of the public with information on fraudulent activities taking place through unregulated online trading platforms to directly call Police Hotline or register case via email. They have also set up an anti-scam hotline to help people seeking scam related advice.