Two Hongkongers have lost a combined total of nearly HK$10 million (US$1.3 million) after being scammed into investing in cryptocurrency and mainland Chinese stocks. According to a police source, one of the victims was a 66-year-old businesswoman who responded to a WhatsApp message from a fraudulent cryptocurrency “expert” in December. The scammer promised high returns if the victim invested in the digital coin Tether. The other victim was a man in his 50s who was tricked into investing in mainland Chinese stocks. The police are investigating both cases and have warned the public to be wary of such scams.
Crypto Wallet Hacked by Scammers
The malicious hyperlink tricked the victim into entering personal information, which resulted in her cryptocurrency wallet being hacked. The scammers posed as an ‘expert’ and asked for the details in order to pay her the profit she had made. The first transaction gave the victim HK$78,000 in profit, further lowering her guard. This incident highlights the importance of being vigilant and aware of the risks associated with online transactions. This is especially those involving cryptocurrency.
Investment Fraud: A 71-Year-Old Man Swindled Out of HK$5.15 Million
When a woman discovered that more than 590,000 Tether coins, worth more than HK$4.6 million, had been transferred to another cryptocurrency wallet, she knew it was a scam. After being unable to contact the person she had been in contact with, she called police on April 12.
A similar investment fraud swindled a 71-year-old man out of HK$5.15 million in January. The man had responded to an online message sent from a person posing as an employee of a licensed financial investment trading platform. This case serves as a reminder to be vigilant against investment frauds. Moreover, to always verify the credentials of any financial institution before making any investments.
Online Investment Fraud on the Rise
The bogus trading platform lured the 37-year-old man into downloading it and investing in mainland stocks, resulting in him becoming a victim of online investment fraud. He transferred HK$5.15 million into nine bank accounts as instructed. Afterwards, when he requested to cash out with his profits, he found he was unable to access the platform and retrieve the money.
The case is part of a worrying trend in Hong Kong. This is with police handling 1,884 cases of online investment fraud last year, up 92 per cent from 980 logged in 2021. The money involved also rose by 96 per cent to HK$926 million in 2022 from HK$472 million in 2021. Separately, a 37-year-old woman called police on Thursday after she lost HK$800,000. It was in a common online employment fraud, known as click farming. As online investment fraud continues to rise, it is important to be aware of the risks. Furthermore, take steps to protect yourself.
Be Wary of Employment Scams
With a staggering HK$4.8 billion lost to deception cases in 2020, the Hong Kong police have issued a warning to jobseekers to be wary of employment scams. In the first two weeks of April, 196 people were swindled out of more than HK$40 million. This is after they were tricked by the same type of scam.
The scam involves luring victims into carrying out fake promotions to earn commission. Last year, more than 70 per cent of the cases were internet related. Those are with 22,797 reports of technology crime resulting in losses of HK$3.2 billion. Phone scammers also cheated victims out of more than HK$1 billion in 2,831 cases. Jobseekers should be aware of the risks and take precautions to avoid falling victim to such scams.
Disclaimer: Cryptocurrency trading involves significant risks and may result in the loss of your capital. You should carefully consider whether trading cryptocurrencies is right for you in light of your financial condition and ability to bear financial risks. Cryptocurrency prices are highly volatile and can fluctuate widely in a short period of time. As such, trading cryptocurrencies may not be suitable for everyone. Additionally, storing cryptocurrencies on a centralized exchange carries inherent risks, including the potential for loss due to hacking, exchange collapse, or other security breaches. We strongly advise that you seek independent professional advice before engaging in any cryptocurrency trading activities and carefully consider the security measures in place when choosing or storing your cryptocurrencies on a cryptocurrency exchange.