There is a new form of crypto fraud making its way throughout Hong Kong – one that has led to tens of millions of dollars being stolen.
Hong Kong Is the Center of a New Kind of Crypto Scam
The idea of striking it rich in crypto has been around for some time. Unfortunately, many are so taken by this possibility that they are unable to see the red flags staring them in the face when they enter a new business venture. However, at the time of writing, the scam does not appear to be business or investing-related. Rather, it has to do with finding love and romance.
Hong Kong police say that the scams involve people befriending potential mates online through dating sites. Eventually, they get very cozy with the people they’re talking to and all seems well until all of a sudden, one day, the scammer convinces the person they’re chatting with to fork out some of their hard-earned cryptocurrency. They make up a story – they have a family problem, they cannot pay bills, etc. – and get the potential victim to forward digital funds so that they can alleviate the issues they’re experiencing.
Naturally, there is no problem, and the person in question is simply looking to get their fingers on cryptocurrency they didn’t earn, much less deserve. Sadly, the victim – unaware of the situation and believing that the person they’ve been chatting with is truly their friend or really loves them – falls for the story and sends money quickly. Authorities claim that the victims of these scams have lost, on average, hundreds of thousands of dollars each. That’s a lot of stolen crypto.
At press time, as much as $18.5 million was lost to these scams over the course of the summer, with slightly more money being taken over the same period just last year. In addition, approximately 70 to 80 of these cases have emerged each month.
This Is Happening in Many Forms
Crypto fraud has been running rampant all year. With the coronavirus pandemic making its way throughout the globe, there appears to be a new form of boldness to scammers and hackers who now think they have what it takes to attack high-profile individuals and get away with it. This was recently seen in a case involving the re-election campaign of current US President Donald Trump, who saw his website overtaken by malicious actors.
The individuals posted a false message to the website claiming that Trump was involved in all sorts of financial crimes. Those who were interested in learning more were advised to pay Monero and forward it to a specific address. Trump’s security staff quickly caught on and were able to remove the malicious actors from the website over the course of 30 minutes. An investigation is now underway regarding who might have been involved and why.