Police in the Philippines have rescued more than a thousand people held captive and forced to run online crypto scams.
On May 7, it was reported in local media that the Philippine National Police had rescued 1,090 people from several Asian nations who were trafficked into the country.
There has been an increase in concern in recent months over internet scams. Trafficking victims are often tricked or coerced into promoting scam crypto investments.
The report added that police also arrested at least 12 suspected ringleaders. The scammers were believed to be affiliated with the Colorful and Leap Group. Furthermore, the entity is allegedly involved in fraudulent activities and crypto scams.
Crypto Scam Activity Increasing
The Philippines and Southeast Asia have become a hotbed of activity for crypto scams. According to the report, the victims are offered online jobs, free flights, and accommodation.
However, after arrival in the country, their passports were confiscated. Furthermore, they were made to work up to 18 hours daily with salary deductions for taking breaks.
Philippine National Police anti-cybercrime group spokesperson, Michelle Sabino, explained how the crypto scams worked.
She said that workers were trained to entice strangers into buying crypto assets or depositing money into bogus bank accounts after establishing fake romantic relationships.
According to the report, the victims were mostly Vietnamese (389) and Chinese (307). Filipinos, Indonesians, and Malays were also enticed into running online crypto scams.
According to blockchain security firm CertiK, crypto scams resulted in losses of more than $100 million in April. A larger portion of that was due to exit scams, it reported.
According to Meta Chief Security Officer Guy Rosen, from a bad actor’s perspective, “ChatGPT is the new crypto.” Scammers are latching on to the hype surrounding AI (artificial intelligence) in order to orchestrate scams and distribute malware.
Crypto markets are on the retreat this Monday morning. Total capitalization has declined by 2% over the past 24 hours and is currently $1.20 trillion.
Moreover, more than $70 billion has exited crypto markets since the end of last week.
Bitcoin failed to break resistance in the high $29,000 area over the weekend and is falling back towards $28,000, where support lies. Furthermore, a surge in transaction fees had clogged up the BTC network.
Ethereum (ETH) meanwhile had dropped 2% in a fall to $1,865 at the time of writing.
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