Singapore’s Financial regulatory, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has published a media release on January 29. MAS alerts citizens not to be lured by fraudulent websites that request investments in cryptocurrencies using fabricated information associated to the Singapore Government.
MAS shared the news on Twitter stating, it has issued a warning on fraudulent websites, which wrongly claim that Singapore is adopting a cryptocurrency as its official coin.
— MAS (@MAS_sg) January 29, 2019
As per the media release, MAS stated
“These websites falsely claim that Singapore is adopting a cryptocurrency as its official coin. They also claim that a firm has been appointed exclusively to market this cryptocurrency. The sites ask readers to provide their personal and financial details to purchase the cryptocurrency.”
MAS said, this is a scam and members of the public should avoid providing any economic or personal details on the forms linked from the false websites.
Investing money in cryptocurrencies or digital tokens is highly unsafe. MAS and the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) have published several advisories in December 2017, September 2018, and more recently in December 2018 to alert the public of the risks involved in such investment offers.
Singapore citizens who come across any suspicious investment offer like fraudulent or other illegal activities should report such cases directly to the Police.
In December 2018, the Singapore Police Force had published a report on Scam Advisory on Investment Scams Promoting Bitcoin Trading. The report said that “The Police have received several reports of investment scams between September and November 2018, where several online articles used false information to promote investment in Bitcoin. A total sum of about $78,000 was lost to the scammers.”
The investment scams which are advertised online are intended to target Singapore citizens. The advertisements by these false companies feature well-known celebrities in Singapore, purportedly backing investment in Bitcoin, and insist that it has produced massive profits for them.
Recently, in other parts of the world, fraudsters had allegedly published the news of former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key for supporting a crypto related scam.
The online articles usually are paid online advertisements that act as a ‘clickbait.’ When you click on that link in the article, one will be redirected to a website, offering investments through the trading of digital currency or other financial products.
These lucrative fake investment schemes work from outside of Singapore and are not controlled by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Citizens of Singapore are strongly advised to be careful about investing in such schemes.
As per the Singapore Police report, citizens are reminded that Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrencies are not legal tenders. They are not adopted by any government and are not backed by any assets or issuer.
There is an increase in crypto related crimes in many countries. It’s becoming tough to deal with crimes related to cryptocurrency, as the criminals operate remotely and are hard to locate.
Investors may encounter problems when wanting to withdraw their profits and initial investment amount, and also face challenges when claiming against these operators who are based abroad.
With MAS alerting its citizens help to address the problem; or it should introduce strict regulations? Share your thoughts in the comments below.