Chinese media outlets are reporting a sharp rise in bogus crypto, blockchain and digital yuan-related schemes in the country, as bitcoin (BTC) prices rise and the rollout of the Chinese central bank digital currency (CBDC) approaches.
Per reports from JRJ and the National Business Daily, unsuspecting investors are laying down up to USD 60,000 at a time in fraudulent projects – only to discover that their money has been spirited away by con artists.
The media outlets say they have unearthed evidence that unscrupulous groups of individuals are targetting people all over the country with legitimate-looking offers that on closer examination are far too good to be true.
Cryptonews.com has also seen evidence of groups posing as crypto exchanges on the social media platforms Weibo and WeChat.
One example is the Blockchain Dragon Knight group (literal translation) which claims to provide professional crypto and fiat currency-related services, and claims investors stand to make gains of up to 600% on their initial stakes – an entirely bogus outfit, according to multiple Chinese outlets.
Another offender is the operator of a bogus tether (USDT)-related app. Daxinggan reported last week on the case of a woman surnamed Lee who was tricked into downloading the app and transferring “over USD 60,000” to buy what she believed were perpetual tether contracts – only to later discover that she had no way of retrieving her funds.
Other scammers are reportedly claiming to be affiliated with firms working with early-adopter digital yuan “funds” – a tactic that emerged earlier this year – as well as bona fide exchanges like Binance.
The trading platform – originally a China-based firm – now only operates blockchain-related activities in the country.
Anti-fraud officers in Wuhan also said they had received complaints from WeChat users of stock market trading chat rooms who said that fellow members had approached them about suspicious “digital currency” investment opportunities.
As recently reported, interest in BTC and major altcoins remains sky-high in the Middle Kingdom, despite a crypto crackdown that came into force in September 2017 – with many experts in Asia explaining that many Chinese individuals are continuing to transact crypto, using stablecoins like tether as a gateway token for BTC trading.
Exchanges are banned in China, once the hub of the crypto world. But blockchain technology is incentivized and digital pay is extremely popular, while over-the-counter (OTC) crypto trading is common.