Hong Kong Sees Spike in Investment Scam Losses | #socialmedia


Victims lost HKD 2.5 billion from investment scams between January and July, a 20-fold increase compared to the same period last year.

Hong Kong police have received more than three times the number of investment scam reports in the first seven months of this year compared to the same period last year.

According to the SCMP, between January and July, police received reports of 725 investment scams, resulting in some HKD 2.5 billion in losses. By comparison, there were just 198 cases in the same period last year, resulting in HKD 128 million in losses.

The latest figures show a near 20-fold increase in the amount stolen by scammers.

Police attribute the sharp rise in investment scams in part to the pandemic, which forced people to stay at home, spend more time on the internet, and increasingly expose themselves to online scammers.

“Scammers will use social media to get close to their victims and promote ‘high return, low risk’ online investment products, but many of these products don’t actually exist,” said Ngan Hoi-ian, chief inspector at the police force’s commercial crime bureau.

The fake investment products typically involve cryptocurrencies, overseas properties, and FX exchanges, Ngan said, adding that scammers often combine investment scams with cyber romance scams.

Nearly half, or 345, of the investment scams in the first seven months of this year were also romance scams. The largest amount lost by a single victim was more than HKD 9 million, where a piano teacher was convinced to invest in a fake FX trading platform.

This year also marked the first time NFTs (non-fungible tokens) were stolen using phishing scams. NFTs are digital assets representing ownership in art or collectibles stored on a blockchain.

One victim lost nine pieces of art held as NFTs valued at nearly HKD 930,000 in June after clicking a link to what he thought was a lucky draw website. Another was hacked after using a public WiFi connection at a coffee shop, losing HKD 2.9 million in NFTs.







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