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Close to 1,000 victims lose investments in alleged cryptocurrency scam

Nearly 1,000 individuals lost their money after falling victim to an alleged scam that enticed them to invest in cryptocurrency through a mobile application.

In Joseph Morong’s report on “24 Oras” on Wednesday, victims John and Ced (not their real names) recalled investing thousands of dollars in virtual currency only for the application to be shut down last November 5.

John and his friends invested $8,000 or approximately P500,000 while Ced put in $3,000 or around P170,000.

“Unti-unti, nag-uusap kami...'yung real-time. 'Nakita mo or nabasa mo 'yung screenshots?' Nakikita namin, naku 'yung ano namin. Wala na,” said John.

(We were talking in real-time, and we saw it went down.)

The victims tried to contact the manager of the mobile application who was known as “Miss Liza” but to no avail. GMA News likewise reached out to the personnel but has yet to receive a response as of press time.

“Di ko alam paano ako makakarecover (I don’t know how to recover from this),” said Ced, who added the managers informed the victims they have already “managed the quota” for the mobile application.

“Na-manage na raw nila 'yung quota at nagkakaroon na raw sila ng party. 'Yun 'yung masakit. Wala tutulo lang luha mo. Magagalit ka syempre, dun napatunayan na talagang scam 'yung application. Hindi na pwede i-withdraw 'yun. Wala ng chance,” he said.

(We were told they already managed the quota and they will have a party. That hurt. You can do nothing but cry and get angry because that proves the application was a scam. We will never get back our money.)

The incident was already reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the report said.

For its part, the SEC reiterated its warning for the public to be careful when dealing with companies not licensed or registered in the country.

“The SEC reiterates its advice to the public to be careful when dealing or transacting with corporations that are not licensed or registered in the Philippines,” it said.

“During the pandemic, there has been a proliferation of unregistered corporations and entities, some offering virtual currencies and other complex investment products, which entice the public to invest and part with their hard-earned money, in exchange for unrealistic returns over a short period of time,” it added.

Meanwhile, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reminded Filipinos investing in cryptocurrency is “risky,"

“The public is advised not to blindly follow the crowd, adopt herd mentality or engage in speculative transactions. The public should exercise extreme caution at all times when dealing with virtual currency products and transactions in general,” the BSP said.

FTX, one of the largest cryptocurrency companies globally, recently declared bankruptcy amid reports it allegedly entered questionable investments and was victimized by insider hacking.—Sundy Locus/LDF, GMA Integrated News