A 42-year-old man has recently become the latest victim of a cryptocurrency scam in Malaysia, where he lost nearly RM1,000,000 (approximately $112,000) from his savings. According to Johor Baru South Police assistant commissioner Raub Selama, the victim was enticed to invest in cryptocurrency by a foreign individual through a mobile app. The scam promised a return of 60% in 60 minutes or less, while also offering additional income from each investment transaction. The victim was misled into making 126 transactions totaling RM989 170 – all under the guise of investing in Bitcoin. Unfortunately, when he tried to withdraw his money, the victim found out that his app account had been locked.
In a separate, yet equally alarming case, a 77-year old woman in Malaysia has lost RM207.900 (about $44,540). A caller posed as an employee of a delivery service and deceived the victim by falsely claiming that she had sent a parcel with sensitive documents and was being investigated.
The authorities have issued a warning in response to the latest incidents. The public was advised to be vigilant and use tools such as Semak Mule Verify account numbers, as well as to do thorough research before investing. Additionally, it is important to avoid answering calls from unknown numbers, particularly those that claim to be parcel delivery services.
Cryptocurrencies are increasingly being misused and abused in Asia. The largest crypto-related money laundering incident to date involved the laundering of $320 million USD through digital assets. In response, countries such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other Asian jurisdictions have strengthened their regulatory frameworks to combat such crimes. For instance, in July 2022, the Financial Supervisory Commission of Taiwan issued a directive to the banking sector prohibiting credit card purchases of digital assets, emphasizing their speculative nature. This move is part of a larger effort to reduce the risks associated with digital currency transactions and to protect consumers from possible financial losses.