Business

Dennis Wafula

Singapore scammers use fake government approval to lure investors

Authorities in Singapore have warned the public not to be misled by companies that are fraudulently claiming the government has officially adopted a digital currency.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) published the warning on their website on January 29. The authority explained that the alleged fraud is being spread through some crypto websites. These websites published that the government has officially adopted it as its official coin.

The sites also claim that a firm has been appointed to market this cryptocurrency exclusively. On their web pages, the crypto firms are asking readers to provide their personal and financial information to purchase the digital currency.

MAS warned the public not to send any financial or personal information to these firms. The authority and the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) issued numerous warnings last year to the public asking them to be cautious when dealing with cryptocurrencies. They also explained the common risks associated with investing in cryptocurrencies.

The public have been urged to report suspicion on fraudulent crypto actives to the relevant authorities.

Just last week, MAS banned a local initial coin offering (ICO) project from conducting its operations in the country. According to reports, the ICO wanted to conduct a security token offering (STO) before registering with authorities and complying with other set securities laws.

The crime rate tied to crypto has also become alarming, to a point some crypto exchanges have teamed up with law enforcement to combat money laundering. According to reports, crypto exchanges in Korea teamed up to deal with money laundering issues. Four exchanges; Coinone, Korbit, Bithumb, and Upbit, created a new hotline to help share suspicious transactions on their platforms. The hotline will help identify pyramid schemes, phishing predatory lending, and other illegal activities.

In 2018, the number of crypto related scams went through the roof with over $1.7 billion lost to these crimes. This was from a recently released report by CipherTrace, a blockchain analytics firm. The report states that the amount stolen by hackers amounts to over $950 million. Despite efforts from authorities to curb these operations, criminals are always finding new ways, like using fake government approvals to lure investors.

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