Losses from Bitcoin Fraud in Hong Kong have Risen to HK$1.7B

In Hong Kong, the losses from Bitcoin-related frauds increased to above HK$1.7b last year, with a 67% increase in the number of victims who were tricked into sending digital assets to online scammers. According to the most recent police statistics, there were approximately 23,000 confirmed reports of technological crimes in 2022, and much more than 50% of the HK$3.2b that was stolen from residents came through scammers. The police report that there were 2,336 cryptocurrency-related frauds registered in Hong Kong last year, up 67% from the 1,397 incidents recorded in 2021. A total of HK$1.7 billion in money were at stake in these lawsuits, an increase of 106% from the previous year.

To locate Ill-Gotten Gains, the Police Established an Anti-Deception Operation Centre in July 2017

The force established its anti-deception cooperation unit in July 2017 to find illicit finances and recognize new scam artist strategies. According to the police, anti-fraud teams stopped more than 500 cases of fraud including electronic payments to scammers in 2022 and stopped over HK$1.3b in stolen money. In comparison to HK$3.07 billion in the year 2020 and HK$3.03b in 2019, they only recovered HK$2.3 billion in fraudulent funds in 2021.

As con artists used a fresh trick to defraud animal lovers last month, the police also released a fraud notice. A vice president of a fashion firm was one among the victims, and she was conned out of virtual currency worth HK$6 million. She fell for the con after responding to an internet advert about a kitten for sale made by a fraud who pretended to be a pet owner in Thailand.

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Afterward, she learned that although the kitten had passed away during birth, she was still eligible for insurance payments. A Bitcoin administration fee was demanded up front from her. Before realizing she had been conned, the victim deposited HK$6 million in bitcoins to an e-wallet over the course of 40 transactions.

To Counteract Bitcoin Fraud, the “Scameter” Search Engine is Being Introduced

To stop phone and internet fraud, the police launched the “Scameter” search engine in September. The police CyberDefender site provides access to the service. According to a police official, the department will keep trying to raise people understanding of cybersecurity and technological crime trends through online and social media platforms, seminars, and media conferences.