The word “cryptocurrency” has been thrown around rather frequently these days. However, this precarious investment may not be for everyone.
In fact, please don’t take our word for it. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has warned the public on its volatility, and that risky investment products are unsuitable for retail investors. To be honest, it’s not hard to understand why.
Do you know that between 2018 to 2020, there have been over 500 police reports of crypto-related cheating, fraud, or other crimes? Nearly 400 of them were made last year, and the news revealed that roughly S$29 million was the figure for investors’ losses.
Experts highlighted the main risks:
- Falling for scams
- Jumping into crypto projects that fail
- Involving in bad investments of obscure coins
A closer look into the scam tactics
Choo Oi Yee, chief commercial officer for private capital platform ADDX, shared that scammers are tapping onto examples of people who have struck it rich in rousing the greed of investors.
Ms Choo added that there are two scams under the Ponzi scheme:
- Money from new investors is used as returns for earlier investors.
- Pump & dump: Scammers buy a coin to push its price up misleadingly and then dump it after others jump on the bandwagon.
Hong Qi Yu, the founder and chief executive of the digital trading platform Tokenize Xchange, also commented regarding this issue. He said that scammers might use third-party accounts to hide their mischief.
Common tactics include:
- Hacking into accounts
- Using undoubting individuals as money mules
- Threatening vulnerable individuals to use their accounts
To counter the ever-evolving strategy of scammers, Mr Hong urged legitimate operators to enhance their surveillance of unusual activities. He also recommended “hot” and “cold” crypto wallets to reduce the risk of being hijacked.
Do your homework before cryptocurrency dealings
With all that said, Ms Choo encourages potential cryptocurrency investors to do their homework. Crypto is complex, and a sound investment strategy involving investing in a range of assets is crucial.
Ms Goh (who declined to give her full name), who lost about S$30,000 to cryptocurrency trading platform Torque, prompted the public to learn about what they’re buying.
“Learn how to use the (crypto) exchange because different exchanges have different fees. You can save a lot on fees if you’re using the right exchange for the right coins.”
Another investor, Andy (not his real name), who lost about S$38,500 as a scam victim, asks investors to do their due diligence.
“The entire blockchain and cryptocurrency space (are) highly volatile. And the technology behind it is very difficult to understand, so unless you’re highly passionate about this whole landscape, don’t see it as a get-rich-quick scheme,” he noted.
When investment opportunities sound too good to be true, they probably are. Don’t let your hard-earned money go to waste via hasty investment decisions.