The Philippine National Police - Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) reminded the public to be cautious when dealing with investment offers and noted that those scams are likely to be more active during the holiday season in response to recent reports of people being lured and scammed by fake cryptocurrency investments.
Around 1,000 people are said to have been the victims of an alleged investment scheme using cryptocurrencies through a smartphone application just this month, with the majority purportedly investing their life savings.
The PNP-ACG claims that the police have learned of a new scam tactic involving cryptocurrency investments where the alleged con artists demand that their victims download a particular cryptocurrency application. Investors will need to deposit money into their digital wallets after the application is installed.
The task force created to combat cybercrime also added that account holders will be able to view their investment amount as well as any high interest they may accrue over time with the app. The ACG stated:
“As investors begin to see the growing interest their money has generated in a short period of time, they are enticed to invest more and more money. When investors start to withdraw their money, the app will not allow them to withdraw. This is how investors realize they have been victims of a crypto investment scam.”
Further, Lt. Col. Robert Bongayon, head of the ACG's Cyber Financial Crime Unit, noted that some con artists go so far as to use phony Securities and Exchange Commission certificates and Department of Trade and Industry permits to persuade people to invest in them.
As a result, Bongayon emphasized that the scammers' primary and secondary licenses are incompatible. Director of ACG Brig. Gen. Joel Doria remarked:
“Do not fall prey to fake cryptocurrency investments. ACG advises potential investors in crypto to visit the website of BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) for the list of regulated Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASP) to avoid being scammed.”
Financial organizations known as VASPs make it possible to swap virtual assets for fiat money, exchange virtual assets for other virtual assets, transfer virtual assets, and take custody of virtual assets. There are presently 18 providers in the county that are under BSP regulation, according to the most recent list released by the central bank on September 30.
Felipe Medalla, the governor of the BSP, recently reemphasized the dangers of making impulsive bitcoin investments. He made it clear that:
“Crypto assets are very risky and those who invest are advised to invest only what they can afford to lose.”
On the other hand, the Securities and Exchange Commission has been active in issuing advisories and warning the public to exercise caution when dealing with financial and investing organizations. The Commission recognized a company that had previously been identified as a scam as a fraudulent cryptocurrency corporation using the new name "Cryptogix" in an advice that was released last week.
As a result, the SEC emphasized the need for educating and directing the public toward legitimate investments during its celebration of World Investor Week in October.
Congress still has to pass legislation before cryptocurrencies and other digital assets can be effectively regulated, according to the BSP and SEC.