Jobless woman cheated out of US$26,500 in online digital currency scam

An unemployed local woman fell for an online digital currency investment scam in late September last year, with a total loss of US$26,500 (MOP 211,640).

Macao digital scam

An unemployed local woman fell for an online digital currency investment scam in late September last year, with a total loss of US$26,500 (MOP 211,640), Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesman Chan Wun Man said at a regular press conference on Wednesday.

According to Chan, the woman, who is in her thirties, recently reported to the police that she met a male netizen on a social media app in September last year. The man urged her to invest in digital currency the following month.

The victim downloaded an app and opened an account as instructed by the man, and invested US$16,000. The man later instructed her to download another app and she transferred the US$16,000 to the new app. As of 10 December, the victim was able to earn a profit and withdrew US$7,300, while the remaining balance in the account was about US$8,000, Chan said.

Afterwards, the investment account reached a total of US$39,000. The victim was unable to withdraw some of the money and contacted her account’s purported customer service staff who told her that her account had been frozen for involvement in money laundering, and that she needed to purchase digital currency corresponding to 30 per cent of her investment in order to unfreeze the account. The victim followed the instruction and deposited an additional US$11,800, but she was still unable to withdraw any money from the account, Chan said.

According to Chan, the “customer service staff” then told her that due to the malfunctioning of the withdrawal link, the victim was required to buy digital currency corresponding to 18 per cent (US$9,150) of the total investment (US$50,800) in her account. When the victim refused to pay, the male netizen contacted her immediately, saying that he could assist her in paying US$3,100 as part of the US$9,150, and purportedly deposited the amount into the victim’s account. The victim then deposited the remaining US$6,050, but still she was unable to withdraw any money from her account. She finally realised that she had been defrauded and reported the case to the police.

The Judiciary Police are continuing their investigation, and no one had been arrested at the time of the press conference, according to Chan.

(The Macau Post Daily/Macao News)
Photo by Macau Photo Agency