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Fiji financial regulators warn of new digital asset fraud involving exchange dealers

The Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has warned residents of the small island nation of an ongoing digital asset scam in the country, reported Fiji Times. The financial watchdog pointed out in a public notice that the scheme’s perpetrators relied heavily on social media to rope new victims for the scam.

In the advertisement, the scammers claimed that individuals in Fiji can have access to foreign investments with the push of a few buttons, with digital assets like BTC and Ethereum being the most promoted. The advertisements were posted by an account that impersonated a government agency, replete with a logo and other insignia of office.

“The fake advertisements state that individuals in Fiji can purchase bitcoin, foreign exchange, and binary trading using their mobile money wallets or bank transfers,” said Razim Buksh, FIU director. He confirmed that the advertisement was fake and was a misrepresentation of facts while clearing the air that foreign investments by citizens have been suspended at the moment.

“Members of the public are advised that only Fijian currency issued by the Reserve Bank of Fiji is legal tender in Fiji. There are currently no authorized virtual assets service providers in Fiji,” said Buksh. The FIU director noted that only commercial banks and authorized money changers in the country are allowed to process transactions involving foreign currency.

The agency’s warning provided suggestions for residents to protect themselves from falling victim to the scam. The statement noted that excessive return on investment should be considered a red flag, while the absence of a physical address and limited documentation should make residents keep their guard up. Other signs to watch out for include spelling and grammatical mistakes in the document and being asked to deposit funds in an account belonging to an individual rather than one belonging to a “reputable financial institution.”

Law enforcement flexing their muscles against scammers

The idea that the virtual currency industry is like the Wild West characterized by lawlessness is giving way as security agencies have made significant strides to rein the industry. In the United States, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has created the Digital Asset Coordinator (DAC), a new unit of federal prosecutors to combat crimes related to virtual currencies.

The newly created unit will build on the existing successes of the DOJ in busting the activities of virtual asset fraudsters. In September, Delaware’s DOJ froze the wallets belonging to 23 entities for their roles in the romance scams involving virtual currencies.

“Today’s order takes a first step toward protecting Delaware investors from the pig-butchering scam by freezing funds at risk from further transfer by the wrongdoers,” said Kathy Jennings, Delaware Attorney General.

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