An architect living in Hong Kong has been swindled out of HK$24 million ($3.1 million) in a Tether-related cryptocurrency investment scam.
As reported by the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the 44-year-old woman became friends with a scammer posing as a fellow architect from Taiwan last June. He contacted her on WhatsApp claiming to be an investment expert and encouraged her to trade Tether on his recommended cryptocurrency investment site.
However, the site he chose was a common fraudulent scheme that tricks users with exaggerated figures of positive returns. From June until January this year, she made 65 transactions to the fake website, all the while believing she was close to doubling her money trading Tether.
When she attempted to withdraw her ‘profits’ she was told to pay an admin fee. After refusing, she discovered the cryptocurrency site was no longer working.
She realized it was all a scam once she lost contact with the fake Taiwanese architect. The invested money has reportedly been emptied from the scammer’s bank accounts.
Police are still investigating the case and no arrests have been made so far.
Hong Kong has become a crypto scam hotspot
Crypto-related scams based in Hong Kong rose by 67% in 2022, up from 1,397 reported cases the previous year. Collectively, an estimated HK$1.7 billion in funds ($216 million) was lost to scammers last year.
That figure looks set to rise in 2023. In February, it was reported that a woman living in Hong Kong lost nearly $800,000 worth of crypto after scammers convinced her to pay the insurance costs of a made-up gifted kitten that had died in transit.
A male investment manager lost $1.5 million of his inheritance around the same time, after being seduced by a fake crypto trader into trading on a fraudulent website. More recently, an Italian consultant working in Hong Kong lost $1.8 million in a similar scam.