Unfortunately, as with any industry, scams of all shapes and sizes persist within the cryptocurrency sector. This past week has seen a Filipino couple arrested after amassing over $17 million USD through a bitcoin investment scam, and protests held outside the office of a Vietnamese company that swindled $660 through two multi-level marketing (MLM) initial coin offerings (ICOs). It appears that cryptocurrency scams are still being peddled via analog communications – with phone and snail mail-based scams being reported this week also.
Filipino Couple Amasses Nearly $1 Billion Philippine Pesos Through Investment Scam
Earlier this week, the Philippine National Police (PNP) arrested Arnel and Leonay Ordania – a couple who are accused of amassing approximately P900 million through a bitcoin investment scam.
The couple is accused of luring roughly 50 investors in their company, Newg, for which they were promised 30% returns every 15 days. Rosanne Maglunog, a victim of the Ordania’s scam, invested P33 million into the scheme with her family and husband during November and December 2017, before discovering via social media that Newg would no longer be issuing payouts to investors.
The PNP chief, Ronald dela Rosa, has told media that the couple was arrested on April 4th in an entrapment operation executed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
Vietnamese Company Protested for Promoting MLM ICO
Vietnamese media has reported that protests were held outside the office building of Ho Chi Minh City-based company, Modern Tech. Reports have indicated that the company is accused of swindling VND15 Trillion ($660 million USD) from roughly 32,000 investors through two multi-level marketing ICOs, Ifan, and Pincoin.
Ifan investors were promised gains “on a daily basis” as prominent Vietnamese musicians were to join the platform, and assured that the company abided by Singapore’s regulatory guidelines. Pincoin was described as a project based in Dubai. Investors were promised monthly returns of 48%, a full recuperation of all investments in fourth months, and an 8% commission on revenue generated by referred investors.
In reality, seven Vietnamese nationals are said to have been behind both projects, with Modern Tech serving as a means to promote what were no more than multi-level marketing schemes. Whilst investors were able to see the ‘paper’ value of their investments rise, none were able to realize their profits in any form.
Canadian Utilities Provider Issues Warning of Phone Scam
Epcor, an Alberta-based utility company proving natural gas, electricity, water, and wastewater treatment services, has warned its customers of a phone scam impersonating the company targeting businesses.
The company warned that businesses have been receiving telephone calls from an individual impersonating an Epcor representative, threatening to shut off electricity services within an hour should they fail to make a payment in bitcoin.
Tim le Riche, a spokesperson for Epcor, revealed that the company received seven calls reporting the scam, including two from businesses that had already made “substantial” payments to the scammers. Mr. Riche stated that “Epcor does not do business like this,” adding that “If there does happen to be any kind of billing issue with any customer, we always work with them […] We would never make a sudden phone call to a customer to say, ‘You’ve got to make a payment within an hour or we’re going to shut you down.’ We just don’t do that.”
Snail Mail Extortion Continues
On Friday, April 6th, two Belmont residents reported a suspicious letter threatening to release evidence of secrets should $8,750 worth of bitcoin not be received within ten days. The letter also contained an accompanying guide on how to use bitcoin.
In January, CNBC reported that many American men were receiving letters through the post threatening to divulge details pertaining to infidelities should $2,000 worth of BTC not be sent to the blackmailer.