December 7, 2022

Cryptocurrency scams are said to be one of the most common cybercrimes in Hong Kong during the first half of 2022, with 25% of them related to digital assets.

The alarming number of such fraudulent schemes can be explained by the growing interest in cryptocurrency by many Hong Kong residents. Recent research ranked the country as the country most prepared for cryptocurrency worldwide.

105% more crypto scams than in the first half of 2021

According to the South China Morning Post coverageThere were 10,613 cyber attacks in Hong Kong between the beginning of January and the end of June this year. 798 were crypto-related fraud schemes – an increase of 105% compared to the same period in 2021.

Violators took HK$387.9 million (about $50 million) from Hong Kong digital asset firms and individuals — a significant increase from the $21 million stolen in the first half of 2021.

One of those victims was a 30-year-old woman named Van, who runs a money exchange shop in the area. A few months ago, she received a message on WhatsApp from an unknown person who introduced himself as the head of the digital asset platform. The criminal lured her to invest nearly $280,000 in Tether (USDT).

“The first four exchange transactions [cryptocurrency] The rope went smoothly. The victim received HK$2.7 million, including payments to her for an exchange service she provided to the fraudster. By that point, the fraudster had gained the victim’s trust,” law enforcement agents noted.

Soon, the errant advised Fan to transfer the accumulated profits to a cryptocurrency wallet. Needless to say, she lost access to her assets while the fraudster stopped communicating with her.

Hong Kong police further determined that the digital asset scams were one of the three largest frauds in the country during the first part of 2022. The other two were job offer scams and fraudulent online shopping activity.

Hong Kong climbs the crypto ladder

The rapid increase in cryptocurrency-related scams in Hong Kong could be fueled by the growing appetite for digital assets, which the residents have shown recently. A survey conducted last month revealed that the Special Administrative Region in China is the most willing country for cryptocurrency globally.

The top spot was the result of a combination of multiple factors, including the government’s friendly attitude toward the industry, the number of crypto ATMs, and interest in the sector per capita.

The United States of America was ranked as the second leading economy in the world, while Switzerland, the financial center of Europe, came in third place.

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