Police in the Phillipines Arrest Eight in Yet Another Bitcoin Scam

Avi Rosten
  • Police in the city of Angeles arrested eight Israelis alleged to have operated the multi-million dollar scheme
  • Affecting victims in several countries, the scheme is alleged to have duped victims into putting in huge sums by paying returns on initial investments

Phillipine Police have arrested eight suspects in a multi-million dollar bitcoin fraud as yet another cryptocurrency scam has come to light.

According to the report in Ynet news, eight Israeli men were arrested on Wednesday in the city of Angeles after raids in three offices across the city, as well as 480 Filipino employees who were working in the operation’s call centre.

Alleged to have amassed several million dollars, the fradulent scheme encouraged investors to put their money into bitcoin and other online investments managed by the operation - and affected users in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Russia.

Two victims of the scam even flew to the Phillipines to try and claim back their lost money after they had (as with many similar scams this year) become excited by the promise of huge returns:

“I clicked on the banner and the next thing I know was that I had gotten a phone call and I was asked to give just $250, and I said to myself, ok, you’ll make a lot of money They took the maximum from all of my cards. They took everything. I have nothing. I can’t even pay the bills.”

Scam Victim

Police report that the scam began in November 2017 and bore the hallmarks of a classical Ponzi scheme: clients would first be given actual returns so as to convince them that the investments were legitimate, before being squeezed for much larger amounts which would never be returned.

Scams on the Rise

With the Israeli Foreign Ministry investigating this latest scheme, the rise in crypto-based scams seems to be concomitant with the ascendance of the cryptocurrency industry in general.

Just last week yet another cryptocurrency pyramid scheme - worth $47m - was exposed in China as it seems authorities across the globe struggle to get to grips with this new wave of financial crime.