According to local media reports, the Philippine National Police had rescued 1,090 people from several Asian nations who were trafficked into the country. Notably, the police also found these individuals to be related to crypto scams.
Sources reveal that there has been an increasing concern among law enforcement agencies and regulators in recent months over internet scams. Reportedly, there has been a prevalent trend wherein trafficking victims are often tricked or coerced into promoting scam crypto investments.
As per the media reports, the police have taken into custody over 12 suspected ringleaders. The scammers were believed to be affiliated with the Colorful and Leap Group, an independent network of wholly-owned agencies based in Manilla, Philippines.
Furthermore, the entity is allegedly involved in fraudulent activities and crypto scams. In recent times, the Philippines and Southeast Asia have become a hotbed of activity for crypto scams.
As stated in the report, the victims are first given hopes of livelihood and are also offered online jobs, free flights, and accommodation. However, upon their 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.
In this context, Michelle Sabino, spokesperson of the Philippine National Police anti-cybercrime group, explained how the crypto scams worked. She revealed that workers were trained to attract strangers into buying crypto assets or depositing money into bogus bank accounts after establishing fake romantic relationships.
According to the report, while the victims were mostly Vietnamese (389) and Chinese (307), Filipinos, Indonesians, and Malaysians were also enticed into running online crypto scams.
The increasing cases of crimes around cryptocurrencies have been a major source of concern to regulators. Blockchain security firm Peck Shield has reported that hackers stole $93.4 million from 41 exploits on various crypto projects in April. While this is a significant decline from the over $200 million stolen in March, it is still higher than the $35.3 million stolen in February.
As a result of these increasing crimes, regulators and investors across the globe have been under significant stress including Australia, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, etc. Additionally, as a prevailing trend, scammers have also started exploiting other scammers as reported by Todayq News.
In particular, the Philippines authorities haven’t been very supportive of crypto entities. In August, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the central bank of the Philippines, announced that it would no longer be accepting new Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) licensing applications for three years.
The central bank described its goal as “striking a balance between supporting innovation in the financial industry and ensuring that associated risks remain within sustainable limits” in a memo dated August 10.
Following this, the approach intensified citing the turbulence that went through the majority of last year. The Philippines’ Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) warned its citizens against using unregistered cryptocurrency exchanges. Any enterprise wishing to conduct business in the nation must register with the SEC, the government agency reaffirmed, citing national regulations.