Cryptocurrency Scams


In recent years, Hong Kong has seen a significant rise in cryptocurrency scams, with victims losing HK$1.7 billion in total. These scams range from fake initial coin offerings (ICOs) to investment fraud, and they have affected a growing number of people in the region. As a result, it is crucial to understand the nature of these scams, the reasons behind their rise, and what can be done to protect oneself from falling prey to them.

Explanation of Crypto Scams:

Cryptocurrency scams involve the use of digital currencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum to defraud investors. Scammers use various tactics to convince people to invest their money, such as promising high returns or providing fake endorsements from well-known figures. One of the most common types of crypto scams is the fake ICO, where a company claims to be launching a new digital currency and seeks investment from the public. Once the money is raised, the scammers disappear, leaving investors with nothing. Other scams include phishing attacks, Ponzi schemes, and fake exchanges

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According to a report by the Hong Kong Police Force, there were 101 cryptocurrency-related fraud cases in 2020, a significant increase from the 22 cases reported in 2019. The number of victims also rose from 41 in 2019 to 383 in 2020. The total amount of money lost to these scams doubled from HK$856 million in 2019 to HK$1.7 billion in 2020.

Government Response:

The Hong Kong government has taken steps to address the issue of cryptocurrency scams. In November 2020, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) issued new guidelines for digital asset trading platforms, requiring them to be licensed or registered and to comply with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regulations. The government has also established a Fraud and Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce (FMLIT) to tackle financial crimes, including those related to digital currencies

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Prevention Tips:

To avoid falling victim to cryptocurrency scams, it is essential to be aware of the warning signs and take appropriate precautions. Some tips to keep in mind include:

  • Do your research:

    Before investing in any cryptocurrency or digital asset, research the company or platform thoroughly. Look for reviews, news articles, and other sources of information to assess its legitimacy.

  • Don't fall for promises of high returns:

    If an investment opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of anyone promising high returns or making claims that are difficult to verify.

  • Use trusted exchanges:

    When buying or selling digital currencies, use reputable exchanges that are licensed or registered with the appropriate regulatory bodies.

  • Keep your private keys secure:

    Your private keys are like the password to your digital currency wallet. Keep them safe and avoid sharing them with anyone.

  • Stay vigilant:

    Be on the lookout for phishing attacks, fake social media accounts, and other scams. If something seems suspicious, investigate it thoroughly before taking any action.


The rise in cryptocurrency scams in Hong Kong is a cause for concern, and it is important to stay informed and take appropriate precautions to protect oneself from these fraudsters.

By understanding the nature of these scams, being aware of the warning signs, and taking steps to secure one's investments, individuals can reduce their risk of falling victim to crypto scams. It is also important to continue to monitor developments in this area and remain vigilant to new scams that may emerge in the future.


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