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PNP Tells Public: Be Cautious in Fake Crypto Investments as Holiday Season Gets Nearer

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Editing by Nathaniel Cajuday

Following the recent reports of people being enticed and scammed by fake cryptocurrency investments, the Philippine National Police – Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) reminded the public to be cautious when dealing with investment offers and noted that those schemes are likely to be more active in the holiday season.

Just this month, around 1,000 individuals, most reportedly invested their life savings, have fallen victim to an alleged investment scheme leveraging cryptocurrency through a mobile application. (Read more: Alleged Crypto Scam Deceives 1,000 Victims )

According to the PNP-ACG, the police force had received reports of a new modus operandi in cryptocurrency investments where the supposed scammers ask victims to download a specific crypto application. Once installed, the application will require investors to cash in on their digital wallets.

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The task force made to fight against cybercrime also added that with the app, the account holders will be able to view the amount of money they invested as well as the high interest they may gain over time.

“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,” the ACG said.

Moreover, Lt. Col. Robert Bongayon, chief of the Cyber Financial Crime Unit of the ACG, noted that some scammers go as far as using fake Department of Trade and Industry permits and bogus Securities and Exchange Commission certificates to convince people to invest in them.

Consequently, Bongayon highlighted that the primary and secondary licenses of the scammers do not match each other.

“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,” Brig. Gen. Joel Doria, ACG director, said.

VASPs are financial entities that facilitate the exchange between virtual assets and fiat currencies, the exchange between virtual assets, the transfer of virtual assets, and the custody of these assets. As per the latest list published by the central bank last September 30, there are currently 18 BSP-regulated providers in the county. (Read more: Novi No Longer Included on BSP List of VASP Licensees)

Recently, BSP Governor Felipe Medalla reiterated the risks of blindly investing in cryptocurrency. He emphasized that “crypto assets are very risky and those who invest are advised to invest only what they can afford to lose.”  (Read more: BSP Governor Medalla Reiterates: Crypto is Risky)

The Securities and Exchange Commission, on the other hand, has been active in releasing advisories and reminding the public to be cautious when dealing with financial and investment entities. In an advisory published last week, the Commission flagged a firm that was priorly identified as a scheme, as a fraudulent crypto entity under the new name of “Cryptogix”.

Accordingly, for its celebration of World Investor Week last October, the SEC stressed that educating and steering the public toward legitimate investments is necessary.  (Read more: SEC Highlights Legitimate Investments For IOSCO World Investor Week)

The BSP and SEC are still seeking legislation from Congress to properly regulate cryptocurrencies and other digital assets. 

This article is published on BitPinas: PNP Tells Public: Be Cautious in Fake Crypto Investments as Holiday Season Gets Nearer

Disclaimer: BitPinas articles and its external content are not financial advice. The team serves to deliver independent, unbiased news to provide information for Philippine-crypto and beyond.