An old-fashioned honey trap has led to more than 100 victims becoming ensnared in a crypto investment scam that relieved them of almost US$5.5 million over the past 12 months.
Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) arrested 14 suspects on charges of fraud, money laundering and breaches of the country’s Organised Crime Prevention Act, the Tapei Times reported on September 6.
Kuo Yu-chih, the CIB investigator in charge of the case, has revealed that the scheme focused on Ethereum, Tronix and Tether. The ringleader, known only as Chen, fronted the Taipei-based Azure Crypto Company, which offered cryptocurrency and other investment services.
Meet Attractive Ladies Online and Kiss Off Your Crypto
Chen promoted crypto investments on social media, promising high returns. His modus operandi was to lure unsuspecting victims to websites where they were persuaded to invest via interactions with attractive women. Investigator Kuo Yu-chih summarised Chen’s MO:
Chen and his staff allegedly used photographs of pretty women to attract mainly male victims, many of whom were in retirement with substantial savings.Kuo Yu-chih, chief investigator, Taipei CIB
Chen and his staff claimed to be financial advisers specialising in cryptocurrency mining. The CIB seized ledgers containing the details of more than 100 people who invested in the scheme.
The amount of US$5.41 million lost in Taiwan’s crypto honey trap is small beer compared to the US$119 million rip-off of investors in a Turkish Dogecoin mining scam, as reported by Crypto News Australia last month, but it serves as yet another reminder to be on guard. In 2020 alone, Australians lost A$26 million to scammers, and incidences of online shysterism are only multiplying as the worldwide take-up of crypto investment continues apace.
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