Investors in Pakistan have become the victims of massive fraud using cryptocurrencies. The country’s top law enforcement agency issued a notice to crypto exchange Binance in connection with the scam that resulted in the loss of $ 100 million to Pakistanis, media reports revealed.
Scammers lure Pakistanis to invest in cryptocurrencies via Binance
The Federal Investigation Agency of Pakistan (FIA) has uncovered a cryptocurrency investment scam that has allegedly cost Pakistani citizens about 17.7 billion rupees (about $ 100 million). Providing details about the case, Imran Riaz, director of the FIA’s cybercrime wing, said on Friday that the organizers used cryptocurrencies. Quoted by local media, Riaz announced:
We launched an investigation after receiving complaints about a fraud involving billions of rupees that was committed using nine online applications.
The scammers employed mobile apps that offered Pakistanis crypto investment opportunities and people sent between $ 100 and $ 80,000, or an average of $ 2,000 per person. Investors were urged to register with Binance, the world’s leading crypto exchange, and transfer money from Binance’s wallet to accounts linked to the apps. On December 20, many users contacted authorities and complained that around a dozen apps had suddenly stopped working.
“During the investigation, it was found that the fraudulent accounts of different applications, namely MCX, HFC, HTFOX, FXCOPY, OKMINI, BB001, AVG86C, BX66, 91fp, TASKTOK, were linked to Binance wallets,” the officials detailed. Each had an average of 5,000 clients. The FIA issued a notice to Hamza Khan, identified as Binance’s representative for Pakistan, and summoned him to appear in person on January 10.
“FIA Cyber Crime Sindh has issued an assistance order to Hamza Khan, General Manager / Growth Analyst at Binance Pakistan (Crypto Currency Exchange) to explain their position on the link of fraudulent online investment mobile apps to Binance “said the FIA, quoted by the Express Tribune and other media outlets. “A relevant questionnaire was also sent to Binance headquarters in the Cayman Islands and Binance US to explain the same,” the agency added in a press release.
Authorities should closely monitor Pakistan’s crypto transactions
The FIA claims that it has identified 26 wallet addresses on Binance used to transfer the money. “A letter has been written to Binance Holdings Limited to provide the details of these blockchain wallet accounts, as well as to block them with debit,” the agency stated, adding that it had also requested supporting documentation and information on integrating the applications with currency trading. platform.
Noting that Binance is the “largest unregulated virtual currency exchange” where Pakistanis have invested millions of dollars, the FIA warns that in the event of default, its cybercrime unit could recommend the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) impose sanctions. financial Now it has started to closely monitor the transactions made by Pakistanis on the exchange.
Law enforcement officials are also reaching out to popular messaging app Telegram, as members of the scheme have been added to various groups broadcasting signals about bitcoin price fluctuations. The FIA is sending legal notices to social media influencers who have been promoting the apps and taking steps to block all bank accounts linked to the scam.
In December, the Federal Investigative Agency froze more than 1,000 bank accounts and cards used by Pakistani cryptocurrency merchants. The buying and selling of cryptocurrencies is still prohibited in the country according to a circular issued by the SBP in April 2018. Despite the ban, a recent report revealed that Pakistanis have invested $ 20 billion in crypto assets. Requests for the government to regulate related transactions have increased.
Do you expect Pakistan to further restrict cryptocurrency investment and trading after this fraud case? Let us know in the comment section.
Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or direct solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, nor is it a recommendation or endorsement of any product, service or company. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author are responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or allegedly caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.