Crypto scammers are ramping up their catfishing campaigns on East Asian dating apps, with another Japanese man falling victim to fraudsters. The man lost “more than $90,000” to a “foreign woman” – who has since vanished.
NHK reported that, per the police, the man – aged in his 50s and a resident of the Murayama region – first met a “foreign woman” via an unnamed dating app in April this year.
After chatting on the app for some time, the woman told the Japanese man: “If you invest in crypto, you will definitely make money.”
The woman then went on to claim that she ran a crypto company – and had made a large amount of money by investing her own funds in the project. She promised him:
“If you invest at least $11,400 in crypto [via my platform], there’s no way you won’t make money.”
The man appears to have trusted the woman from the very onset. Police explained that “from early April to mid-August,” the man transferred money to “multiple financial institution-operated accounts” on a total of 14 occasions. In total, he sent some $90,000 to these accounts.
But it seems that after the 14th transfer, the scammer decided that they had amassed sufficient funds. As of mid-August, the man stated that he “could no longer contact the woman” – as she appeared to have become unresponsive on the chat app.
He also discovered that he had no way to access his funds.
The man later told the police about his losses, and the police stated that they are now investigating it “as a fraud case.”
Japanese Police Warn Against Rise of Crypto Scammers on Dating Apps
Officers warned the public to be aware of the possible “damage caused by” fraudsters demanding cash on dating apps “under various pretexts.” They called for the public to “immediately” speak to the police or members of their family if they suspect something is amiss with an online acquaintance.
Police operations in Japan, Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan have uncovered fraud gangs often operating in teams in medium-sized offices.
In most cases, these gangs’ members are mostly male – and pose as females online in an effort to ensnare unsuspecting men. In some instances, they have been found using minor celebrities’ social media photos as profile pictures.
Some crypto-themed catfishing efforts are also targeting Japanese women, with fraudsters posing as “foreign men.”