Authorities in the Philippines have dismantled a crypto scam ring that preyed on victims by enticing them to deposit cryptocurrency into fraudulent accounts. During the month of April alone, over $100 million was lost due to various crypto scams and exploitations.
Local media reported on May 7 that the Philippine National Police successfully rescued 1,090 individuals from various Asian nations who had been trafficked into the country.
In recent months, there has been a growing concern about internet scams, particularly related to cryptocurrency. Trafficking victims are frequently deceived or forced into promoting fraudulent crypto investments.
According to the report, law enforcement authorities apprehended a minimum of 12 suspected leaders of the criminal ring. The scammers were linked to the Colorful and Leap Group, both of which are allegedly engaged in fraudulent activities and crypto scams.
Rise in Crypto Scam Activity:
The Philippines and Southeast Asia have emerged as active hubs for crypto scams. As per the report, victims are enticed with online job offers, free flights, and accommodations.
However, once they arrived in the country, their passports were taken away from them. Additionally, they were forced to work long hours, up to 18 hours per day, and their salaries were reduced for taking breaks.
Michelle Sabino, spokesperson for the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group, provided an explanation of how the crypto scams operated.
According to the spokesperson, workers were trained to engage strangers in fraudulent romantic relationships, convincing them to purchase crypto assets or deposit money into fraudulent bank accounts. The report indicated that the majority of victims were Vietnamese (389) and Chinese (307), while Filipinos, Indonesians, and Malays were also involved in operating online crypto scams.
Blockchain security firm CertiK reported that crypto scams led to losses exceeding $100 million in April, with a significant portion attributed to exit scams. Additionally, according to Guy Rosen, Meta’s Chief Security Officer, scammers perceive “ChatGPT as the new crypto” in terms of exploiting the hype around AI (artificial intelligence) to execute scams and distribute malware.
Crypto markets are experiencing a decline on Monday morning. In the past 24 hours, total capitalization has decreased by 2% and currently stands at $1.20 trillion.
Furthermore, over the past week, more than $70 billion has been withdrawn from crypto markets, resulting in a significant outflow of funds.
Bitcoin made an unsuccessful attempt to surpass resistance around the high $29,000 range during the weekend and is now retracing towards the $28,000 level, which is acting as a support. Additionally, the Bitcoin network experienced a surge in transaction fees, causing congestion.
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