Since cryptocurrencies appeared and their price increased, scammers tried to take profit from it. Hacks, scams, and mysterious Initial Coin Offerings were the tactics used by crooks that wanted to steal others’ funds. Now, the country that is suffering from an important scam in South Africa, where more than 27,500 people, have been affected.
The Bitcoin investment group BTC Global has reported that R600 million in crypto assets have been stolen from the group’s investors.
South African Investment Group Scam
Investors from South Africa, Australia, and the United States have been affected by one of the most important Bitcoin hacks. According to local news sources, Steve Twain, the sole manager of the investments at the company, disappeared in February 2018 without mentioning anything about the funds. BTC Global’s administrative team wrote a post on Facebook two weeks ago explaining that they were not able to locate Twain.
At the moment, the South African Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) is working investigating claims against BTC Global. Mr Captain Lloyd Ramovha, part of the institution, confirmed that the Serious Commercial Crimes Unit is working side by side with the “Hawks.”
Some investors have reported very important sums of over $100,000. Individuals that wanted to invest in BTC Global, had to send their funds to a single wallet address.
Mr Ramovha commented:
“I have spoken to one of the investigators in our team and he has confirmed that this matter came to them about two weeks ago. There are in excess o 27,500 complaints with many outside South Africa. The amount is over $50 million and could rise as more victims come forward.”
When speaking with The Sunday Times, Antoon Botha of BMV Attorneys confirmed that they are working with several clients involved with BTC Global. According to Botha, they are planning to take legal actions against the company and its representatives.
“The investigation is in its infancy,” said Mr Ramovha. “I also cannot say whether it is a Ponzi scheme. BTC Global is being investigated for contravening the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act,” he said.
Cryptocurrency Risky Investments
But even when the funds have been lost, the company keeps explaining that cryptocurrency investments are risky and that investors should know what they were doing. As BTC Global works as any other fund, the risk of losing the investment are inherent, says an administrator at the company.
Cheri Ward, an administrator at BTC Global, says:
“Every single person who invested in BTC Global did so of their own volition and subsequent to having conducted their own research into the fund. As is the case with any fund into which money is invested there is no guarantee that an investor will be receiving any return on their investment.”
Clearly, investing in cryptocurrencies is a risky investment. The market is very volatile and it is not regulated yet. This situation is perfect for scammers to spread and steal investors’ funds.
All over the world cryptocurrency scams have been registered. Hackers have been stealing investors’ funds from cryptocurrency exchanges. Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) have never started the promised project. Finally, fake cryptocurrencies and platforms promising unrealistic returns, as BitConnect, have also been in the news.
Some time ago, Coincheck, a Japanese exchange, has been hacked and $500 million dollars in NEM coins were stolen. At the moment, NEM is working with the local authorities in order to track the funds.
As investors, it is important to be aware of these scams and to avoid not recognized sites and not professional businesses. Now, 27,500 individuals are trying to locate their funds, but tomorrow it can happen to any of us if we are not careful about the investments we do.