Singapore’s government is warning its citizens against elaborate fraudulent Bitcoin schemes. This warning comes following the emergence of websites touting false claims from senior government officials about fake cryptocurrency investment opportunities.
Online Bitcoin Scams in Singapore
According to Bloomberg, scammers are using both the city-state’s Prime Minister – Lee Hsien Loong, and Deputy Prime Minister – Tharman Shanmugaratnam to deceive people into investing in fraudulent BTC investment schemes. In a tweet posted on Saturday, Lee said:
Scammers have used DPM Tharman’s and my name to solicit Bitcoin investments. Don’t believe everything you see on the Internet!
Scammers have used DPM Tharman’s & my name to solicit bitcoin investments. Don’t believe everything you see on the internet! – LHL https://t.co/TImx6wsONR pic.twitter.com/fGg3KA6eLI
— Lee Hsien Loong (@leehsienloong) September 22, 2018
In a separate Facebook post, Lee said anyone could be the target of fake news. The PM also uploaded a screenshot of a website with a photo of him, as well as a phony quote attributed to him. He called on citizens to be watchful and do their due diligence before putting money in any investment opportunity.
According to the country’s Monetary Authority, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam also appears on two other websites promising quick returns on BTC investments.
Combating Online Scams
In a related development, the country’s parliament is trying to put modalities in place to counter fake news. The 10-member Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods published a report on September 19, 2018.
The report contained 22 recommendations targeted at curbing the spread of deliberate online disinformation campaigns. The new laws, if adopted, will grant greater powers to the government in the fight against fake news.
According to Prime Minister Lee, the government will study examine the report. Commenting on the plans moving forward, Lee said:
Countering fake news is not something the Government can do alone. We need the cooperation of many groups – businesses, tech companies, media organizations, public institutions, and most of all, the public – to be aware and to be responsible.
Earlier in the year, cybersecurity experts warned that Singapore’s crypto-friendly status could endanger the country’s investment population. At the time, these experts predicted that Singapore would become a target for cryptocurrency fraudsters.
In February, DPM Shanmugaratnam warned Singaporeans about unverified cryptocurrency investment programs. Shanmugaratnam, who is also the nation’s central bank chief said that people ran the risk of “losing their shirts” when they put their money in cryptocurrency schemes.
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Images courtesy of Twitter (@leehsienloong) and ShutterStock.
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