Singaporeans lost $78,000 through Bitcoin Investment scams in 3 months
Cryptocurrency scams have run rampant this year, with Singapore being the latest target. Between September to November this year, Singaporeans lost $78,000 to fraudulent Bitcoin investment funds, as reported by the local daily, The Straits Times on December 5.
The scammers employed online articles and ads to promote their funds while they featured local celebrities endorsing their fund, thereby enticing residents to invest large sums of money.
Prospective victims who end up clicking on these links would be redirected to a website offering both crypto and non-crypto investments. Upon filling their contact information, an affiliate from the investment scheme would get in touch with them and would convince them to invest in the fraud.
Singapore’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) does not oversee these funds and cannot enforce regulation on the same because the latter operates outside the city-state. MAS currently does not have any stringent regulation on cryptocurrency and no protection for investors in crypto-investment funds.
The schemes that are conducted externally on Singaporeans are even more difficult to regulate or protect against. Verification of the fund and authenticity of transactions also cannot be confirmed prior to investing.
New Zealand has also seen a wave of fake news related to Bitcoins. Daniel Faitaua, the local Kiwi television host was mentioned in online ads which claimed that he doubled his money by investing in Bitcoin through a fraudulent cryptocurrency investment business. Faitaua had to later make a statement on-air putting to rest these claims and his connection with the investment fund.
In September, the MAS warned Singaporeans about a Bitcoin scam website that issued false statements and was purportedly affiliated with the MAS chairman, Tharman Shanmugaratnam. The fraudulent website further stated that users create a Bitcoin account linking their credit card or personal bank account.
After China began cracking down on its cryptocurrency industry, proponents began migrating to Singapore. In November of last year, post the China exodus and prior to the December bull-run, the MAS issued a guide to token offerings and began looking at regulating cryptocurrencies.
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