Hong Kong’s police force has raised the alarm after 11 Hong Kong-based Binance customers were targeted in a wave of phishing scams sent through text messages.
Hong Kong police warned users of the scam in an Oct. 9 post to its Facebook page dubbed “CyberDefender.”
“Recently, fraudsters posing as Binance sent text messages claiming that users must click the link in the message to verify their identity details before a deadline, otherwise their account would be deactivated.”
Police said that once users clicked the link and supposedly “verified” their personal details, hackers were then able to gain full access to their Binance accounts, where they proceeded to steal all of the assets contained within the users’ wallets.
According to the post, the phishing scheme has seen 11 Hong Kong-based Binance customers report combined losses of more than $446,000 (3.5 million Hong Kong dollars) in the last two weeks.
The police have asked any users who believe that they’ve received a potentially fraudulent message to log the suspicious messages on the “fraud prevention” section of its official website.
Additionally, the police displayed a link to a newly published list of verified virtual asset trading platforms, provided by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).
Currently, only two cryptocurrency exchanges — HashKey and OSL — are fully licensed for retail investment purposes in Hong Kong.
Related: Hong Kong police, regulator form crypto task force as JPEX saga unfolds
Established in May, CyberDefender is a project launched by the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau of the Hong Kong Police Force, aimed at increasing local citizen’s awareness of online security risks.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong crypto investors have been hit hard by scams and fraudulent activity in recent weeks, with the recent JPEX crypto exchange scandal ballooning to an estimated $180 million in losses and more than 2,300 Hong Kong-based investors filing complaints with local police.
JPEX was an unlicensed cryptocurrency exchange that allegedly lured in Hong Kong residents with flashy advertising and “suspiciously” high returns on its lending products. The exchange ratcheted up fees on withdrawals from its platform on Sept. 15, rendering funds inaccessible to its users.
Following the scandal, which has been described as the largest financial fraud ever to hit Hong Kong, the SFC announced that it would publish a list of both fully licensed and “suspicious” crypto platforms in a bid to combat potential fraud.
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