South Africa's Hawks Investigate Bitcoin Scam Involving Thousands of Victims

South Africa’s crime police unit is reportedly investigating a scam involving bitcoin that may have impacted thousands of citizens.

In a report from Business Tech, South Africa’s police squad, the Hawks, are looking into a scam that started with a company called BTC Global. It’s reported that the business in question is said to have had more than $50 million worth of traders globally.

According to Hawks spokesperson Captain Lloyd Ramovha, there have been over 25,700 complaints regarding the company, with a majority of them outside of South Africa, adding:

The amount is over $50 million and could rise as more victims come forward. The investigation is in its infancy. I also cannot say whether it is a Ponzi scheme. BTC Global is being investigated for contravening the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act.

It’s estimated that some traders in South Africa had invested as much as R1.4 million ($118,000) with BTC Global.

News of this comes at a time when interest in the cryptocurrency market is increasing. At the end of December, bitcoin was trading within touching distance of $20,000 for the first time. Yet, since then the price of the currency has fallen. At the time of publishing, it is trading at $10,961, representing a near five percent increase in the past 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap.

Despite this, however, that doesn’t appear to be stemming interest from motivated hackers who are intent on stealing from others. So much so, that last month it was reported that nine men were arrested over the theft of bitcoin mining machines in Malaysia; four men were arrested in Taiwan in what is considered the first bitcoin robbery in the country; whereas police in the U.K. are hunting for armed men that broke into the home of a family man and ordered him to transfer holdings of his bitcoin.

It seems, however, that these incidents are no longer new, but are slowly becoming the norm as criminals think of new ways to get their hands on crypto assets.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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