Hong Kong police have seen a significant increase in online investment fraud cases, with about 70% of them involving cryptocurrencies. There were 1,503 reported cases over the first ten months of 2022, which represents a 90% increase from 2021.
As reported by RTHK, the most prominent case involving virtual assets included close to 20 million yuan. Additionally, Mr. Li, another victim mentioned in the report, claimed to have lost 180,000 yuan after investing in virtual assets online.
In September, Mr. Li was approached by a virtual asset investment platform staff member in the US who convinced him to invest in Sushi through the use of claimed inside information.
According to Mr. Li, the platform employed an online clerk to help facilitate each transaction and directed him to transfer money to a Hong Kong bank account for purchasing and selling.
Mr. Li’s investments in the platform plummeted, and he was removed from the account after requesting to end his position and receive the remaining balance. He alerted the police, who discovered that the platform was a fraudulent copy of an established one.
However, the police advised avoiding online investment platforms that handle every transaction or ask for personal bank account transfers. They recommended individuals not buy or sell without fully understanding the process if unfamiliar with it.
The report further highlighted that the police arrested 589 individuals, including key members, in 20 operations carried out last year. These operations concerned 881 cases involving online shopping, dating, and investment fraud, costing about 400 million yuan.
Hong Kong Crypto-Related Scams
Hong Kong scored 8.6/10 in a worldwide crypto readiness report. Additionally, 798 out of 10,613 cybercrimes in Hong Kong involved crypto, resulting in losses of $50 million for the crypto community in 2022, as per the South China Morning Post report.
Police data shows that over 10,100 victims were defrauded of almost $3.72 billion through the internet, phone, and investment scams in Hong Kong and abroad over the past 4.5 years. The funds were transferred to local bank accounts and crypto wallets.
Contrary to the typical belief that victims of scams are not well-informed and easily fooled by strangers, the report suggests that victims come from all social and educational backgrounds, including educated students, professors, and doctors.
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