Image from Tuoi Tre News
Modern Tech, a Ho Chi Minh City based start-up company has swindled 32,000 investors to the tune of VND15 trillion (US$660 million). The scammers had appeared as the authorized representatives of two cryptocurrencies and conducted ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings). The investors had been told that the value of their crypto assets would soar high when they hit the secondary market.
As bitcoin skyrocketed in 2017, many investors, a majority of whom having no idea what cryptocurrency is, invested heavily in bitcoin while others looked for any opportunity of investing in a similar currency. Many scammers made millions by setting up cryptocurrency related businesses. Since there were few laws governing the market and no clear details or guidelines about crypto assets, it was comparatively an easy task for a seasoned scammer.
Modern Tech pretended to represent Ifan and Pincoin, and they robbed 660 million US dollars in real money from the unsuspecting investors. Ifan was called “the most advanced social network” and celebrities were assured of an easy platform to sell albums, sell tickets, and organize concerts, among other things. Pincoin was introduced as a promising investment opportunity similar to bitcoin. When the investors saw that their crypto assets could not be sold for real money they had contacted the head office of the company to know that Modern Tech had vacated the rented office even before the fake ICO was conducted.
Vietnam’s Tuoitrenews reports that “Investors have been told that they would enjoy a profit rate of 48 percent a month from their initial investment, and recoup all investments after four months. People would also be rewarded with an eight percent commission for every new member they have introduced to the network.” Social media have been flooding with statements and details from the victims, and a collective complaint against the perpetrators is being signed by the victims. The most important message to potential investors is that you cannot trust just a beautiful website and a sophisticated office alone when it involves your money.