Hong Kong regulators warn of increasing crypto exchange impersonation scams

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has warned the public against suspicious websites impersonating the two licensed crypto exchanges in the city-state, according to a Mar. 4 notice.

According to the notice, several sites impersonating the image and branding of both Hash Blockchain Limited and OSL Digital Securities Limited are attempting to trick users.

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This fraudulent act has misled several investors, who reported it to the regulator. Some users complained about their inability to withdraw funds, while others were forced to pay high fees before unlocking their assets.

Due to this, SFC warned investors to conduct their due diligence before using any crypto exchange, adding that the Hong Kong police have blocked the offending websites.

In addition, the financial regulator cautioned that there might be other deceptive platforms impersonating licensed entities. Hence, investors are strongly advised to verify the registration status of the institutions they engage with.

“The SFC once again reminds the public that online investment scams may involve any type of assets and are perpetrated through multiple channels, including social media and instant messaging apps.  Investors should stay vigilant and verify the legitimacy of a virtual asset trading platform before making any transactions,” it added.

Meanwhile, this is not the first time Hong Kong authorities have warned about a website impersonating a crypto platform. In February, the regulator issued a public warning against an entity masquerading as crypto exchange MEXC Global that was luring unsuspecting victims into a crypto investment scam.

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Hong Kong’s crypto licensing

Hong Kong has recently become a destination of choice for crypto exchanges due to its regulatory clarity and strategic position in the Asian market.

During its recent crypto exchange license application drive, the SFC received applications from several major exchanges, including Crypto.com, OKX, HTX, and ByBit, to operate legally within the region.

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Author: Oluwapelumi Adejumo

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