Japanese men aged 30-49 are frequently finding themselves the target of elaborate crypto scams that pry on love-hungry users via dating apps – with a national watchdog moving in with a warning to be careful of the risks of investing in tokens on the advice of strangers.
The National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan (NCAC), the state’s most notable consumer watchdog, announced in a statement that the number of complaints it has received from male users of international dating apps more than doubled last year on 2019 numbers as dating sites user numbers rise in the wake of coronavirus lockdowns.
The NCAC warned that in the cases it has investigated, many “love-seeking women” with whom Japanese male users interacted on dating apps gradually convinced their victims to invest in crypto projects using “fake” trading platforms.
It gave the example of one unnamed man in his 30s who struck up a chat with a woman via a dating app. She proceeded to persuade him to make an investment worth over USD 7,100 in crypto using an ostensibly bona fide-looking crypto exchange.
The site, nevertheless, turned out to be bogus, and the victim lost his funds.
The watchdog urged users to “read the terms and conditions of dating sites thoroughly before using,” use caution when confronted with stories about making money, to “invest carefully,” and be careful not to surrender “personal information easily.”
According to a report from Yahoo Japan, the phenomenon is extensive. The report’s author noted that some men had been stung for as much as USD 16,150 by women they believed were honest.
Another 40+ man planned marriage with a Taiwanese woman – purportedly in her 20s. After much love-talk, the woman eventually persuaded him to make a five-figure investment in a token she mentioned would increase in value sevenfold. That same token later plummeted in value to almost zero.
And a typical tactic among women claiming to be from Singapore, Taiwan, Mainland China, and elsewhere in Asia requires directing Japanese men to buy tokens using a bogus trading site named in the article only as “I” allegedly originates in China.
The watchdog continued that in the case of deceitful businesses based overseas, the chances of retrieving lost funds were minimal.
Alternatively, it advised that anyone who feels unsure about potential investment opportunities check to see whether the organization they are thinking of investing in has been whitelisted by the nation’s top financial sector and crypto regulator, the Financial Services Agency.
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