Japanese men aged 30-49 are increasingly finding themselves the target of sophisticated crypto scams that pry on love-hungry users via dating apps – with a national watchdog stepping in with a warning to be mindful of the risks of investing in tokens on the advice of strangers.
The National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan (NCAC), the state’s biggest consumer watchdog, said 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, a number of the “love-seeking women” with whom Japanese male users interacted on dating apps gradually persuaded 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 conversation with a woman via a dating app. She proceeded to convince him to make an investment worth over USD 7,100 in crypto using an ostensibly bona fide-looking crypto exchange.
The site, however, turned out to be bogus, and his funds were lost.
The watchdog urged users to “read the terms and conditions of dating sites carefully before using,” use caution when confronted with stories about making money, to “invest carefully” and be careful not to surrender “personal information easily.”
Per a report from Yahoo Japan, the phenomenon is widespread. The report’s author noted that some men have been stung for as much as USD 16,150 by women they believed were trustworthy.
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 said would increase in value sevenfold. That same token later plummeted in value to almost zero.
And a common tactic among women claiming to be from Singapore, Taiwan, Mainland China, and elsewhere in Asia involves directing Japanese men to buy tokens using a bogus trading site named in the article only as “I” – which allegedly originates in China.
The watchdog added that in the case of fraudulent businesses that were based overseas, the chances of retrieving lost funds were incredibly small.
Instead, 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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