A review of current statistics by Stone Bridge Ventures Senior Account Manager Adam Sachs shows that cryptocurrency scams are on the rise in many parts of the world, and Malaysia is no exception. And these scams manifest in many forms, affecting all sorts of people. Just recently, a 70-year-old pensioner lost over RM500,000 in a cryptocurrency scam. He reported to the authorities that a person approached him on Facebook, claiming to help people invest in crypto funds in the US.
Over the course of 6 months, the scammer made him conduct 133 bank transfers spread out across 39 bank accounts. What started with a payment of RM500 had inflated to a loss of over RM500,000 as the scammer convinced him to continue making multiple payments.
Kerain-Based Businessman Loses RM870,000
Earlier this month, a 54-year-old Kerain-based businessman lost RM870,000 in a crypto investment scam. This case is quite similar to the one mentioned above, as a woman contacted him on WhatsApp, claiming to have made a significant profit from cryptocurrency.
In this case, the victim initially deposited RM500 as well, and it was doubled. Then, the scammer told him to invest a larger amount to make a larger profit. As a result, the businessman made several transactions to three separate accounts, transferring a total of RM870,000.
According to Stone Bridge Ventures’s Adam Sachs, these cases arise when regulatory authorities have a misguided focus on controlling service providers instead of informing potential victims. A lack of awareness about the different types of crypto scams can make people more susceptible to becoming victims.
Increase in Crypto Investment Scams
There has been a recent increase in business opportunities, investment, and even romance scams. In business opportunity scams, the scammer contacts a victim and informs them about a potential business opportunity that can make them rich.
For instance, they could say that they’re setting up a new cryptocurrency, which would deliver major returns. This tends to win over victims, and they willingly agree to invest in the project – only to realize that there was no business at all and their money was stolen.
Investment scams are somewhat similar, as they involve a person approaching someone with access to a large amount of money in their savings. Then, the scammer convinces the victim with promises of double returns or even more. This is quite similar to the cases observed recently, and scammers may even ask for a small amount and provide a 100 percent return to make it seem legitimate. Unfortunately, this is where victims are lured in, and their money is stolen.
Stone Bridge Ventures Senior Account Manager Adam Sachs explains that this is where regulatory authorities need to step in and inform the public about such scams. The banking sector can start awareness campaigns to inform investors who may not be as tech-savvy about the risks of cryptocurrencies and common scams. A reason why many people tend to fall for such scams is that they believe cryptocurrency to be a quick way to make a return. They must understand that this isn’t the case and that, in fact, it’s a risky asset class that requires skill.