SINGAPORE: Seven victims were cheated of about S$78,000 in Bitcoin investment scams between September and November, police said on Wednesday (Dec 5).
They were taken in by online articles that used false information to promote investment in the cryptocurrency, police said in a media release.
The articles featured the likeness of well-known Singaporean personalities like Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and actor Li Nanxing.
The falsified advertisements show the personalities supposedly claiming that investing in Bitcoin had generated massive profits for them. The ads portrayed the investments as secure and highly lucrative.
"The online articles are usually paid online advertisements that act as a 'clickbait'," police said.
By clicking on a link within the article, one would be brought to a different website that offered investments through the trading of cryptocurrencies or other financial products.
Victims who provided their contact details on the website would receive calls from a "representative" from the scheme, who would direct them to make a credit card payment.
Police warned the public to be cautious about investing in such schemes, due to the difficulty in verifying their authenticity.
They also advised that such schemes are typically operated from outside of Singapore, and are not regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Thus, investors might face trouble pursuing claims against the scammers.
"Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrencies are not legal tender. They are not used by any government and are not backed by any assets or issuer. As in most jurisdictions, MAS does not regulate cryptocurrencies," police said.
"As such, there is no regulatory safeguards for investment in them."