A postgraduate student from Korea University conducted a study based on police reports. The study revealed a concerning rise in South Korean crypto scams that target young women on social media platforms.
The study found that women accounted for 71% of victims of “romance scams” perpetrated through social media in 2022. Most of these females were 39 years old or younger.
Surprisingly, scammers utilized cryptocurrencies, counterfeit coins, deceptive foreign exchange transfers, and fraudulent platforms for trading tokens in nearly 63% of these fraudulent schemes.
Scammers predominantly exploited Instagram as their primary platform, with additional utilization of dating apps, such as WIPPY and Tinder.
The study also revealed that social media scammers defraud approximately half a million USD of fiat and cryptocurrency monthly. There is a possibility of unreported cases that further inflate this figure. These findings emphasize the urgent requirement for heightened awareness and vigilance to counteract these concerning trends.
The increasing prevalence of crypto-related scams in South Korea has drawn attention. Another study analysed 280 reported cases from the first half of 2022. In light of this, the police have established specialized departments to combat these scams.
Additionally, they have invested in training their officers with the necessary crypto-specific skills to address such fraudulent activities.
Scammers often employ a prevalent technique known as “romance scams”. Here, they persuade victims to engage in cryptocurrency or fiat currency exchanges through deceptive platforms. Furthermore, fraudsters target young women, enticing them with alluring promises of effortless profits through investments in counterfeit altcoins. Deceitful pleas for money to cover medical expenses or urgent requests for funds from individuals claiming to be stranded overseas are also tactics some scammers employ.
Uppsala Security, a regulatory technology developer and security provider, recently issued a warning about the emergence of South Korean scammers. These fraudsters are actively enticing users of dating apps towards deceptive crypto mining platforms. This alarming discovery underlines the imperative for heightened vigilance and consciousness to safeguard individuals from becoming prey to these scams.
A Uppsala researcher stated:
“Romance-themed scams used to revolve around trying to persuade [dating app users] to make investments in a [bogus] coin. But recently, that has changed into romance scams that attempt to use crypto mining profits as bait. The goal is to convince victims to join a [fake] mining program.”