The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued a warning about a potential scam that promotes cryptocurrency officially adopted by the Singaporean government. The fraudsters aim to obtain personal and financial data from potential victims.
Fraudsters and scammers are very inventive when it comes to details in the extent of their schemes. However, the basic idea is as old as the sea — promise everything under the sun, show false proof that you are legit and credible, then collect money and disappear into thin air.
The team that made up the May Code Trader Group (MCTG) acted by the book. They offered investors exclusive access to the Singapore national cryptocurrency, officially adopted and backed by the authorities. Moreover, they copied the design of prominent U.S. media websites and posted fake news there to attract a high-net-worth audience.
One such clone looked exactly like CNBC. The news story posted on the fake media channel stated that the city-state had launched the coin on Jan 19, 2019, and the interested investors could purchase it via the MCTG, which had allegedly been selected as an exclusive distributor and the promoter of the coin.
The potential investors were asked to provide personal and financial information to buy the Singapore national cryptocurrency directly from MCTG.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) was quick to warn the public that there is no such thing as the Singapore official digital coin. The regulators issued a scam alert and recommended citizens stay away from the company.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has warned the public about an alleged scam claiming that a cryptocurrency is officially adopted by the government. This scheme is spread through websites that offer crypto investment using false government data. #fraud #Singapore
— Koinlocker (@_Koinlocker) January 31, 2019
Firstly, Singapore has never approved any official cryptocurrency and has never planned to have one.
It is worth noting that Singapore has taken a somewhat softer approach towards digital assets than its Asian neighbors.
Cryptocurrency trading services are legal in the country, and cryptocurrency exchanges can operate without a license. However, digital money is not considered legal tender. Moreover, the Singaporean tax authority treats them as goods and requires appropriate reporting.
MAS issued several advisories during 2017 and 2018 to warn the public about the risks related to cryptocurrencies and investment instruments based on digital tokens.
Singapore is Not Alone
Singapore is not the first, and likely not the last country where scammers try to lure investors by claiming that the government supports their coin. We have already seen Swiss national cryptocurrency and Sweden state coins — both being scams which exploited the same scheme as the MCTG.
Investors should remember that at this stage all existing digital asset are private projects. Despite buzz from Iran, Saudi Arabia, and even Russian, no country in the world has its own national cryptocurrency at the time of writing.
If anyone is claiming otherwise, they are likely looking to steal your money.
Do you believe that central banks will start issuing their own digital coins someday? Is it a good idea, or should we avoid this path of industry development at all cost? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter