According to reports, cryptocurrency scams were one of the most widespread cyber crimes in Hong Kong in the first half 2022. 25% of these offenses involved digital assets.
Many Hong Kong residents have a growing interest in cryptocurrency, which could explain the alarming number of fraudulent schemes. Recent research has ranked the state as the most cryptocurrency-ready country in the world.
105% More Crypto Scams than in H1 2021
According to South China Morning Post, there were 10,613 cyberattacks in Hong Kong between January and June. 798 were cryptocurrency-related fraudulent schemes – a 105% increase considering the same period in 2021.
Wrongdoers took HK $387.9million (around $50million) from Hong Kong-based digital assets firms and individuals – a substantial increase compared to the $21million stolen in H1, 2021.
Fan, a 30-year-old woman who runs a currency exchange shop in the region, was one such victim. Fan received a WhatsApp message from an unknown person claiming to be the head of a digital asset marketplace. She was lured by the criminal to invest approximately $280,000 in Tether.
“The first four transactions to trade [cryptocurrency] Tether were successful. The victim was paid HK$2.7million, which also included payment for the service she provided to the scammer. Law enforcement agents stated that the victim had gained trust in the scammer by this point.
Fan was advised by the wrongdoer to transfer her accumulated profits to a questionable cryptocurrency wallet. She lost all access to her assets and the scammer stopped communicating with her.
Further, the Hong Kong police determined that digital asset-related scams were among the top three types of cheats in the country during the first half of 2022. Other two included job-offer scams and fraudulent online buying activity.
Hong Kong climbs the Crypto Ladder
The surge in demand for digital assets may be behind the rapid rise of cryptocurrency scams in Hong Kong. Residents have recently demonstrated this appetite. Last month’s survey revealed that China’s special administrative region is the most crypto-ready nation in the world.
The combination of many factors led to the first spot, including the friendly attitude of the government toward the industry, the high number of crypto ATMs and the per capita interest in the sector.
The USA was ranked second in the world’s top economy, and Switzerland, Europe’s financial center, came in third.
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