According to the Hong Kong Police, reported cases of this type of online fraud increased by 92% in 2022 compared to the previous year.
Two senior Hong Kong citizens lost $1.3 million (HK$10 million) in separate scam cases involving cryptocurrencies and mainland Chinese stocks, SCMP reported on May 4.
In one case, a 66-year-old businesswoman was scammed via WhatsApp. The scammer posed as a cryptocurrency expert, advising her to invest in Tether (USDT) with the promise of substantial returns.
According to police investigations, the victim unwittingly gave her personal information to the scammers after filling out an online form. The “expert” told her they needed this information to pay her profits. However, the hackers used this form to collect confidential information from their victims.
To gain her trust, the scammers gave her HK$75,000 on the first transaction before stealing HK$4.6 million (590 Tether ) from her wallet. The funds were stolen between January 27 and March 31.
Meanwhile, the other victim was a 71-year-old man who lost HK$5.15 million to investment fraud.
According to the report, the fraudster posed as a financial investment platform employee who convinced him to download a fake trading platform and invest in the stocks of mainland Chinese companies. The victim transferred the funds to 9 bank accounts based on instructions.
The person only discovered he had been scammed when he could not access the platform to withdraw his money.
Online fraud rising
These two cases represent the tip of the iceberg regarding online investment fraud in Hong Kong. According to the Police, reported cases of this type of fraud increased by 92% in 2022 compared to the previous year.
Additionally, the rate of employment scams in the city has increased, with 196 people losing HK$40 million (over $5 million) to the same scam in the first two weeks of April.
Meanwhile, the prevalence of these scams has forced the authorities to double their efforts. Hong Kong has launched an application called Scameter to help users determine the risk of fraud.
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Author: Oluwapelumi Adejumo