According to a local news report, 14 Chinese men conducted the cryptocurrency scam for at least two months before getting arrested. The perpetrators tricked victims using chat groups in popular Chinese messaging apps by impersonating successful investors and then wrongfully soliciting cryptocurrencies from victims. Authorities were surveilling the group for the past several weeks before making the arrest on Saturday, April 18th, in Iskandar Puteri, near Singapore.
The number of victims and how much money the group scammed is not known.
Assistant Commander Dzulkhairi Mukhtar explained to reporters at Iskandar Puteri how the scammers operated and how the scammed people of their money. He said that the suspects are aged from 20 to 30, with three men having no valid travel documents. One of the alleged scammers would pose as a successful investor or a mentor while the rest posed as investors before creating a group chat through WeChat and QQ Messaging apps for each of their victims. All of the suspects would then give a fake testimony to lure in the victim into investing, he noted. The total number of victims and the amount of money allegedly scammed by the group is still unknown.
Scammers could face jail time of up to 10 years.
If convicted, the scammers arrested by police in Iskandar Puteri, near Singapore, could face jail time of up to 10 years plus the possibility of a fine. Earlier in a similar case, scammers posed as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and lured potential victims into investing in a suspicious auto-trading program called Bitcoin Evolution and scammed people off their money. The number of crypto scams around the world has increased exponentially with the growth in the crypto industry.
In most countries, the crypto industry is not well-regulated, which enables scammers to run elaborate Ponzi schemes to fraud victims off their money. In the wake of the pandemic, scammers are playing on the fear of public and operating crypto scams. The FBI issued an official warning regarding such swindles involving cryptocurrencies earlier this month.