The Philippine National Police has rescued over 1090 individuals that were held captive to run online crypto scams.
According to reports from local news media, the majority of the victims were Vietnamese, Chinese, Filipinos, and Indonesians. So far, the police have arrested at least 12 suspected ringleaders believed to be connected to the Colorful and Leap Group.
Meanwhile, the Philippines Bureau of Immigration (BI)’s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) rescued the supposed victims of a “crypto trafficking ring” earlier in January.
Strategies Used by the Scammers
Michelle Sabino, spokesman for the PNP’s anti-cybercrime group (ACG) gave statements that the victims eagerly accepted the job after being promised free flights and lodging. However, upon landing in the nation, the workers’ passports were stolen, and they were forced to labor for up to 18 hours a day.
According to Sabino, these employees were trained to persuade individuals to acquire digital assets or make deposits into phony bank accounts after faking romantic connections.
Are Crypto Scams on the Rise
Online crypto scams have been on the rise over the past few years. Interestingly, the increasing popularity of crypto and the lack of regulatory oversight in some jurisdictions have made the industry an attractive target for scammers. These scams can take many forms, such as Ponzi schemes, fake ICOs (initial coin offerings), or phishing attacks.
According to reports from Blockchain security firm Certik, crypto scams resulted in losses of more than $100 million in April alone. Notably, a larger portion of that was due to exit scams, it reported.
Mitigation Strategies for Crypto Scams
People should educate themselves on the dangers of crypto scams and take precautions to stay safe. This can entail steering clear of dubious investment possibilities, thoroughly investigating potential investments, and using other security precautions to safeguard their cash.
Regulators and law enforcement authorities are also crucial in combating crypto fraud. Accordingly, they can conduct investigations and prosecutions of individuals and criminal networks participating in these frauds. Furthermore, they can set legislation and recommendations to avoid fraudulent actions in the cryptocurrency business.
Efforts Made by Regulators
Regulators around the world have taken various measures to fight crypto scams. For instance, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation has launched a new cryptocurrency fraud tracker to help traders and investors see possible threats to the industry.
In addition, some regulators have taken enforcement action against specific crypto scams and fraudulent projects, such as shutting down websites or arresting individuals behind fraudulent investment schemes.