More Asian lonely hearts are reportedly being tricked out of their hard-earned money – and tokens like bitcoin (BTC) and tether (USDT) – by a growing number of scammers who prey on the unsuspecting users of dating apps.
Several reports from the region have recounted how romance-seeking smartphone users have been sucked into traps by unscrupulous individuals posing as exotic international crypto traders – only to rob their victims using bogus exchange sites and other underhand tactics.
Per UTY (via Yahoo Japan), a woman “in her 30s” from Kai, Yamanashi Prefecture, met a man claiming to be a foreigner online in May.
After chatting and developing an online relationship, the man then explained that he was a successful crypto trader who had exclusive knowledge about how to make money from trading tokens. He convinced her to make a USD 910 investment using what appeared to be a bona fide trading site. When she apparently received almost USD 250 worth of profit from her first trade, he convinced her to make seven further investments to the tune of USD 345,000.
When she later tried to contact the man, he had apparently vanished into thin air.
The news comes just a day after a report from Kyoto News detailed how a woman in her 50s in Omihachiman, Shiga Prefecture, was approached by a man – also claiming to be a foreigner – on the Line chat app. The man also claimed to be a successful crypto investor and convinced her to buy USD 82,000 worth of bitcoin to send to a crypto trading platform – before breaking off contact with his alleged victim.
Police are investigating the incidents as part of separate fraud cases.
In February, the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan, Japan’s consumer watchdog, warned men aged 30-49 to beware crypto scammers lurking on dating apps – particularly those claiming to be international crypto experts.
Meanwhile, Chinese lonely hearts are also falling prey to crypto scammers on dating apps. In April, Cryptonews.com reported on the case of a Zhejiang woman who was duped by two fraudsters at once while using a dating platform.
And per the United States-based Chinese language media outlet Epoch Times, a Hong Kong woman explained that she had met a man on the Coffee Meets Bagel dating app in March this year.
The man, she claimed, persuaded her to make a number of USDT purchases and then directed her (and her tokens) to what appears to have been a fraudulent website. The woman realized she had been scammed several weeks later – but not before she had parted with some USD 120,000 worth of her hard-earned money.
But it looks like traditional scammers are also still active outside the world of dating apps.
In Mainland China, investors in the Jiangsu, Guangdong, Shandong and Chongqing provinces were caught up in a USD 216m multi-level marketing (MLM)-type scam masterminded by individuals who allegedly claimed they had developed a crypto mining platform that did not make use of traditional mining rigs.
JCRB reported that 17 individuals in Jiangsu had been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the scheme. Prosecutors are hoping to secure jail sentences of between two and six years for the individuals if they are convicted.’
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