A report published by news portal, Strait Times, revealed that between September 2018 and November 2018, a total sum of $78,000 was lost to cryptocurrency scammers in Singapore. This was made chiefly possible when scammers used Singaporean celebrities (without their knowledge and consent) to entice potential investors.
The Singapore police said that these investment scams, which are advertised online, are designed to target Singapore residents, the portal reported. The online advertisements state that these bitcoin-related investments are safe and secure.
One of the scams operate thus: Once the people click on these online advertisements, they are taken to a different website which offers investments involving cryptocurrencies. Once they send in their personal details, a so-called ‘representative’ calls the investor. The authorities added that such investment schemes are usually from foreign countries and that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has not approved of any of these ‘get rich quick’ schemes.
Currently, the MAS does not regulate cryptocurrencies and there are no regulatory safeguards for cryptocurrency investments.
The police added that the investors may have a tough time tracking down such fraudsters as there is no paper trail.
However, earlier this year, the MAS had stated that they were planning to introduce regulations specifically for cryptocurrencies. At the time, MAS Deputy Managing Director (Financial Supervision) had said, “Virtual currencies first emerged about 10 years ago. Since then, we have observed an increase in the number of initial coin (or token) offerings in Singapore. As with most financial regulators, MAS does not regulate virtual currencies. But we regulate the activities that surround virtual currencies if these pose specific risks. An example would be the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) requirements that we have imposed on intermediaries providing virtual currency services. We are assessing if additional regulations are required for investor protection.”
However, unlike China, Singapore doesn’t believe in necessarily banning the trade of cryptocurrencies, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister had stressed during a parliamentary meeting.
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