A 55-year-old Hong Kong resident is said to have fallen victim to an online cryptocurrency investment scam and lost nearly HK$7 million (nearly $900,000) in his assets.
Incidents of such scams have recently become very common in the region. According to a report, Hong Kong investors lost around $50 million due to crypto schemes in the first half of 2022.
According to a report by the South China Morning Post, the woman was taken advantage of after a criminal contacted her on Instagram in January this year. According to the investigation, they then started conversing on another messaging service.
After gaining his trust, scammers suggested him to open an account on an unknown platform to invest in bitcoins for high profits. According to law enforcement, the information provided on the site about digital asset prices is falsified and controlled by perpetrators.
“He was told that he would be paid daily interest of HK$2,500 in addition to guaranteed tens of thousands of US dollars in profits,” according to the police.
Between February and the end of March, perpetrators persuaded victims to transfer HK$6.96 million ($886,600) to 19 specific bank accounts.
When the woman tried to withdraw some of the money, she was asked to pay a fee. He even tried to borrow money from his daughter before realizing he had been conned.
The Hong Kong pensioner sought help from the police, who characterized the case as “fraudulent acquisition of property:” a misdemeanor punishable by up to ten years in prison. However, no suspects have been arrested by the authorities.
This was not the only significant cryptocurrency scam in Hong Kong this week. A 44-year-old woman reported to police a few days ago that she lost $3.1 million after investing in the stablecoin Tether (USDT) in a shady market.
According to 2022 data, there were more than 10,000 cyberattacks in Hong Kong between the beginning of January last year and the end of June. 798 of them were crypto-related scams that robbed investors of around $50 million. By comparison, such crimes cost $21 million in the first half of 2021.
According to the police, the number of crypto scams in the special administrative regions of China will increase to 2,336 by the end of 2022 (67% higher than in 2021). Law enforcement handled 1,884 cases.