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Thousands of Pakistanis wanting quick money lose Rs1 billion

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Thousands of online investors in Pakistan thought they were making a quick buck from the comforts of their home. The app promised that they only had to bet on whether Bitcoin’s price will go up or come down to earn a profit.

The simplicity of the scheme was too alluring to resist. But, in reality, they were becoming victims of an online fraud and on December 19, they lost almost Rs1 billion of their hard-earned life savings.

The scam

The scam started with an app called “HFC Pak Trading App.” Those willing to invest were asked to download the app. Then, investors would have to convert fiat money into cryptocurrency through Binance or any other digital money changer. The cryptocurrency would then be deposited into investors’ HFC account.

There would be four 5-minute-long trading sessions in a day where investors had to bet whether Bitcoin’s price will go up of come down.

Those who invested money were also added to groups on Telegram, a heavily-encrypted messaging app.

“An analyst made a Telegram group with about 40000 members. These people invested money between $30 and $50,000. They were also given tips by the analyst,” said a victim of this scam who wished to remain anonymous.

Those who invested initially made some profit. Boosted by it, they referred the scheme to their friends. The app offered incentive to those who bring more investors.

The victim said that even if people haven’t invested anything but referred the scheme to their five friends who are investing and trading, then they can make money without investing anything.

“This encouraged people and we saw many videos of parties thrown by people in hotels where they invited their friends to invest in HFC,” he said.

But, on December 19, the app crashed, and those who invested lost every penny.

$10 million siphoned

A cryptocurrency expert told SAMAA TV that the almost $10m have been siphoned from users in this scam.

“In cryptocurrency, every wallet has details. We have scanned their wallet and found that there are $10m in it,” said the expert.

All transactions have been done through HFC Pak and now, the money is being transferred to different wallets.

Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Cyber Crime Zone Sindh’s head Imran Riaz told SAMAA TV that victims have started filing complaints.

But this is not the only company which defrauded people. HT Fox and Royal Worldwide have also scammed people using similar schemes.

“People started contacted me through social media. They said that HFC and HT Fox have scammed many people,” said Riaz.

Some victims hail from Sukkur and Hyderabad and there are around 12000 people who lost their money in this scheme.

FIA has requested victims to come forwards and launch complaints.

 

 

 




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dinesh@freedomstudio.info

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dinesh@freedomstudio.info