Taiwan Police Arrest 14 Suspects Of Crypto Scam Worth 5.4 Million

Taiwan’s police have arrested 14 suspects in connection with a cryptocurrency scam that conned investors out of around $5.41 million, according to the Taipei Times. The report cited information from Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau and covers a scam that was largely active across social media. 

The bureau has said that the 14 suspects face charges of fraud and money laundering. 

According to CIB investigator Kuo Yu-Chih, a businessman known as ‘Chen’ led the scheme that took millions from investors’ pockets. The scheme encouraged cryptocurrency investments across social media platforms and used photos of pretty women to attract a large number of male investors. 

Chen also supposedly ran a Taipei-based cryptocurrency transaction service, Azure Crypto Co. Kuo explains, “Chen and his staff set up websites, and allegedly used photographs of pretty women to attract mainly male victims, many of whom were in retirement and with substantial savings.

Across their websites and social media, Chen and his staff acted as financial advisers, who specialised in mining cryptocurrencies. The fraudsters focussed on obtaining investments from Ether, Tether and Tronix. They promised victims high investment returns through blockchain technology. 

According to the Taipei Times, more than 100 people were caught up in the scam, one of these people had invested $1 million over two months. 

The news of this arrest comes just after fraud in the cryptocurrency space hits an all-time high. According to analysts from Crypto Head, there have been 32 incidents of hacks and fraud totalling $2.99 billion so far in 2021. That figure shows a 40.7% increase since 2019. Every year, the number of offences grows by around 41%. 

The most common type of crypto attack are breaches of wallets and exchange- there have been 126 of these incidents in the last ten years. Frauds involving DeFi (decentralised finance) have occurred around 41 times in the last ten years. 

James Page, a crypto technical writer at Crypto Head, wrote, “the number of DeFi breaches is on the increase, with this new technology more open to potential weaknesses.”

Over the last ten years, $19.2 billion has been stolen through crypto breaches and fraud. Bitcoin is the most targeted currency, holding responsibility for 33.3% of all fraud cases. Bitcoin is the world’s most traded coin, with a market value of almost $1 trillion. The coin accounts for 43% of the crypto market, the value of which is over $2 trillion. 

The United States is the most commonly targeted country for crypto attacks however, with developing countries seeing a rise in the use of crypto, we could start seeing more cryptocurrency centred crime in poorer parts of the world. 

While 2021 has set a record for the most number of offences, it was in 2017 that hackers made the most money from their scams, taking around $223.5 million. The largest breach to date is Mt.Gox, which stole $615 million over the years, leaned to the platform’s insolvency in 2014- according to Crypto Head.