Just under $80,000 was lost due to cryptocurrency scammers in Singapore earlier in the year after they used a number of strategies which involved the spreading of false information regarding phoney online investments, designed to bring in investors.
A new report has revealed that the scams were specifically designed to reel in residents of Singapore by using local celebrities who ‘endorsed’ the scams. This was most likely done without their consent.
According to CCN, “local police stated that the basic format of the scam involves the use of online articles which function as recruitment material for investors who do not carry out enough due diligence.” The said articles usually featured bright endorsements and testimonials bigging up the scam investment programs from some famous faces in the country including public figures and celebrities. This will usually bring in multiple low-level investors who wish to imitate the public faces they can see ‘promoting’ the programs.
Reports came out in September which used quotes by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) chairman and Deputy Prime Minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam which misled many investors to put their money in a fraudulent Bitcoin scheme. “The website solicited personal data of users including contact details and bank or credit card details.”
When the links in the articles are clicked by unsuspecting visitors, they are then taken to websites which offer these scam investments, before then being asked to enter their contact details, which in turn results in them being contacted by representatives operating on behalf of the investment scheme. According to a police report, the schemes operate from outside Singapore and so they aren’t regulated or recognised by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
“It will be recalled that Singapore is currently one of Asia’s friendliest jurisdictions for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, with several concurrent moves being made toward government-level blockchain adoption, cryptocurrency payment regulation and ICO oversight.”
Even with all this, the MAS doesn’t currently have a comprehensive crypto regulation framework and there are no safeguards or guarantees which are offered for investments in cryptocurrencies.
Despite all the hacks and scams happening in Singapore, it is slowly becoming the hub for cryptocurrency and blockchain innovation. Many blockchain based companies now operate out of Singapore and are therefore contributing to a very bullish feel towards the industry in Asia.
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