Investors from Pakistan have fallen victim to massive cryptocurrency scams. The country’s top law enforcement agency has released a notice to the crypto exchange Binance in connection with the fraud that resulted in a $ 100 million loss for Pakistanis, media reports revealed.
Scammers lure Pakistanis into investing in cryptocurrency through Binance
Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has uncovered a crypto investment scam that allegedly cost Pakistani citizens around 17.7 billion rupees (around $ 100 million). Imran Riaz, director of the FIA cybercrime wing, said on Friday that the organizers were using cryptocurrencies. Quoted by local media, Riaz announced:
We opened an investigation after receiving complaints about a scam involving billions of rupees through nine online applications.
The scammers used mobile apps that offered Pakistani crypto investment opportunities and sent between $ 100 and $ 80,000, or an average of $ 2,000 per person. Investors have been asked to register with Binance, the world’s leading crypto exchange, and transfer the money from the Binance wallet to accounts linked to the applications. On December 20, the authorities were contacted by many users who complained that around a dozen apps suddenly stopped working.
“During the investigation, it was found that the fraudulent accounts of various applications, namely MCX, HFC, HTFOX, FXCOPY, OKMINI, BB001, AVG86C, BX66, 91fp, TASKTOK, were linked to Binance wallets,” officials said. Each had an average of 5,000 customers. The FIA notified Hamza Khan, who has been identified as Binance’s representative for Pakistan, and summoned him in person on January 10th.
“FIA Cyber Crime Sindh has issued an attendance order to Hamza Khan, General Manager / Growth Analyst at Binance Pakistan (Crypto Currency Exchange) to explain his position on the connection of fraudulent online mobile investment applications to Binance,” said the FIA, as quoted by the Express Tribune and other news outlets. “A relevant questionnaire was also sent to Binance headquarters Cayman Islands and Binance US to explain the same thing,” the agency added in a press release.
Authorities are keeping an eye on Pakistani crypto transactions
The FIA claims to have identified 26 wallet addresses on Binance that were used to transfer the money. “A letter has been written to Binance Holdings Limited to share the details of these blockchain wallet accounts and to block them,” the agency stated, adding that it had also requested supporting documentation and information about the apps’ integration with the coin trading platform .
Noting that Binance is the “largest unregulated virtual wallet” Pakistanis have invested millions of dollars in, the FIA warns that its cybercrime division of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) may recommend fines for failure to comply. It has now started to closely monitor the transactions carried out by Pakistanis on the stock exchange.
Police officers are also turning to popular messaging app Telegram as members of the program have been added to various groups that spread signals about Bitcoin’s price fluctuations. The FIA is providing legal notices to social media influencers who promoted the apps and took steps to suspend all bank accounts associated with the fraud.
In December, the Federal Investigation Agency frozen over 1,000 bank accounts and cards used by crypto traders from Pakistan. According to an April 2018 circular from SBP, buying and selling cryptocurrencies is still banned in the country. Despite the ban, a recent report found that Pakistanis had invested $ 20 billion in crypto assets. There are growing calls for the government to regulate these transactions.
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Accounts, addresses, Binance, crypto, crypto assets, crypto exchange, crypto currencies, crypto currency, exchange, Federal Investigation Agency, FIA, fraud, fraudsters, investigation, investment plan, investors, Pakistan, Pakistani, Pakistanis, probing, regulation, regulations, Fraud, purses
Do you expect Pakistan to continue restricting crypto investments and trading following this fraud case? Let us know in the comment section below.
Lubomir Tassev is a tech-savvy journalist from Eastern Europe who likes Hitchens’ quote: “Being a writer is what I am and not what I do.” In addition to crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two more Sources of inspiration.
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