Scam warning

Singapore regulator warns against digital currency scams following PM name fraud

The financial regulator in Singapore has published a fresh warning to would-be investors to be wary of cryptocurrency scams, following an elaborate fraud involving the misappropriation of the name and likeness of the country’s Prime Minister.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which oversees financial markets in Singapore, issued the warning following the scam which saw the country’s Prime Minister embroiled in a token fraud on a local token trading platform, with his name and identity being used to sell tokens worth the equivalent of $10,000.

Warning of the risks of investing in such a volatile market, MAS Chairman Tharman Shanmugaratnam said investors should stay clear of risky investments in tokens and digital currencies.

“Cryptocurrencies can be highly volatile, as their value is typically not related to any economic fundamentals. They are hence highly risky as investment products, and certainly not suitable for retail investors,” the official said in response to a parliamentary question.

The announcement follows a statement from the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong urging caution, after his name, likeness and social media profiles were linked to an alleged digital currency fraud.

The proliferation in scams around BTC and digital currency speculation has gained pace in recent months, fueled by the bull run in major digital currency markets. As a result, regulators in Singapore and elsewhere are increasingly looking to digital currency as a “fringe asset” to identify ways of increasing regulatory oversight over the sector.

According to Shanmugaratnam, investors should continue to steer clear, while regulatory agencies work to develop more effective regulation and oversight of the digital currency sector.

“The crypto assets space is constantly evolving. MAS has been closely monitoring developments and will continue to adapt its rules as needed to ensure that regulation remains effective and commensurate with the risks posed. Investors, on their part, should exercise extreme caution when trading cryptocurrencies.”

See also: CoinGeek Live panel, Digital Currency & Global Compliance: Tools & Tips for Exchanges, Wallets & Other Service Providers

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