A Malaysian man, aged 42, has become the latest victim of a cryptocurrency scam, losing nearly RM1 million (approximately $212,000) of his savings.
According to Johor Baru South Police assistant commissioner Raub Selama, the victim, who has not been named, was enticed by a foreign individual who promised lucrative returns on cryptocurrency investments through a mobile application.
The scam promised a 60% return within just 60 minutes and additional revenue from each investment transaction.
Trusting the scheme, the victim proceeded to make 126 transactions, amounting to RM989,170, all under the guise of investing in Bitcoin.
The realization of the scam dawned upon him only when he could not withdraw his funds and discovered his account on the app had been blocked.
In a separate but equally alarming case, a 77-year-old Malaysian man was defrauded of RM207,900 (about $44,540) in a phone scam.
The elderly victim was deceived by a caller, posing as a representative from a delivery company, who falsely claimed that the victim had sent a parcel containing sensitive documents and was under investigation.
The latest incidents have prompted a stern warning from the authorities.
Assistant Commissioner Raub Selamat advised the public to remain vigilant, suggesting using tools like Semak Mule to verify account numbers and conduct thorough research on any company before investing.
He also cautioned against entertaining calls from unknown numbers, especially those claiming to be from parcel delivery services.
Crypto misuse in Asia
The rise in such scams in Malaysia is part of a larger trend in Asia, where countries are increasingly tightening their anti-money laundering regulations in response to the growing misuse of cryptocurrencies.
For instance, Taiwan recently witnessed its largest crypto-related money laundering case involving the laundering of approximately $320 million USD through digital assets. In response, Taiwan and other Asian jurisdictions, including Hong Kong, are enhancing their regulatory frameworks to combat such crimes.
In July 2022, Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission issued a directive to its banking sector, prohibiting credit card purchases of digital assets and underscoring the speculative nature of such investments.
The move is part of a broader effort to mitigate the risks associated with digital currency transactions and to protect consumers from potential financial losses.