A 55-year-old resident of Hong Kong recently fell prey to an online cryptocurrency investment scam and lost her entire life savings worth almost $900,000. This is not an isolated case, as such fraud cases have become quite frequent in the region lately. According to a recent study, Hong Kong investors lost around $50 million during the first half of 2022 due to crypto schemes.
In this particular case, the victim was contacted on Instagram by a scammer who later gained her trust and advised her to invest in cryptocurrencies on an unfamiliar platform with the promise of great returns. However, the information shared on the venue regarding the prices of digital assets was counterfeit and controlled by the offender.
The Hong Kong retiree sought help from the police, which classified the case as “obtaining property by deception,” a crime that is punishable by up to ten years in prison. Nonetheless, the authorities have not yet arrested any suspects.
This incident sheds light on the growing number of crypto scams in Hong Kong and the need for increased awareness among investors. Data from 2022 showed that there had been more than 10,000 cyber attacks in Hong Kong between the beginning of January last year and the end of June. 798 of them were crypto-related schemes that drained around $50 million from investors. In comparison, such crime accounted for $21 million of losses in H1, 2021.
The police recently announced that the total number of crypto scams in China’s special administrative region has surged to 2,336 by the end of 2022, which is 67% more than the 2021 incidents. It is imperative for investors to exercise caution and do their due diligence before investing in any cryptocurrency. It is also crucial for regulatory authorities to step up their efforts to combat such scams and protect investors from financial losses.