Chinese authorities uncover a cryptocurrency scam involving fake Huobi tokens
Chinese police arrested crypto scammers that ran a fake investment scheme since 2019.
Mon, 13 Jul 2020, 02:49 am UTC
A group of cryptocurrency scammers has been taken down by Chinese authorities in the city of Wenzhou. The police seized millions in cryptocurrencies, villas, and luxury cars from the group.
Chinese authorizes seized over 100 million yuan ($14.31 million) in cryptocurrencies from the scammers, who started their operations since 2019, according to Cointelegraph. The retrieved tokens include “tens of thousands” of Ether (ETH), Bitcoin (BTC), and Tether (USDT) according to a tweet by Mo Li, the head of marketing at HashKey Hub.
The police also arrested 10 people who operated a cryptocurrency scam that involved fake Huobi tokens, according to Bitcoin.com. The local media reported it as the “first criminal case involving smart contracts” in China.
The investigation into the group started when a Chinese citizen name Li complained to the police in April. Li joined “Huobi Global HT [huobi token] Arbitrage Chinese Community,” a Telegram group run by the scammers who posed as investors that benefited from an “investment scheme.”
Victims were instructed by the scammers to send their cryptocurrencies to a fake Huobi wallet. The scammers promised that in return, they will receive a more substantial amount of Houbi Token. However, what the victims actually received are just fake HT links.
“Simply put … transfer your ETH (ethereum) to the account designated by the other party, and the other party will return 60 HT (huobi),” Li told the police. “After exchanging, the HT value added part is the money you make, the profit is around 8%.”
Li was convinced by the smooth-talking scammers and transferred 10 ETH on July 3 to a wallet given by the group owner, which is worth around $1,714 or 12,000 yuan at that time. But what got Li in return were 600 fake HT coins, which could not be traded.
Authorities found out that there are more than 13,000 members of the Telegram group. However, more than 10,000 of these supposed members were idle “zombie accounts” while most of the staff and some of the members were just computer bots. At the moment, the police determined that 1,300 people have fallen victim to the scheme.
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