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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Philippine Police Bust Crypto Scam, Rescues Over 1,000 Human Trafficking Victims: Report

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Over 1,000 human trafficking victims, who were forced to toil up to 18 hours a day for cryptocurrency scams, were rescued by the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The 12 suspected ringleaders were arrested by the authorities and will be charged with human trafficking. This includes seven Chinese nationals, four Indonesians, and a Malaysian.

Crypto Scam Ring Busted

According to a report by local media, the victims promptly accepted the job offers after the perpetrators enticed them with free flights and accommodation. Upon arrival, however, their passports were confiscated and were made to work up to 18 hours a day, in addition to salary deductions for interacting with colleagues or taking extended breaks.

An official revealed that a total of 1,090 individuals were rescued after being trafficked from several nations and held captive to forcefully operate online scams. The workers were mostly from Asia, including Vietnam (389), China (307), the Philippines (171), Indonesia (143), Nepal (40), Malaysia (25), Myanmar (7), Thailand (5), Taiwan (2), Hong Kong (1).

Michelle Sabino, PNP anti-cybercrime group (ACG) spokesperson, revealed arresting at least 12 suspected ringleaders who are believed to be the operators of a fraudulent entity called Colorful and Leap Group Co. All of them were subjected to an inquest proceeding for human trafficking before the Department of Justice in Manila.

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In a statement to the media, Sabino noted that the operators trained the workers to lure strangers into purchasing cryptocurrency or depositing funds into bogus bank accounts after establishing fake romantic relationships. Unsuspecting individuals in the United States, Europe, and Canada were especially targeted for the scams.

“They will build up a promise of a good future together. Let’s buy a house, buy a car, let’s invest money, or let’s do business together.”

Rampant Crypto Romance Scams

CryptoPotato earlier reported that scammers had switched their tactics in the bear market. One that gained notoriety was – crypto romance scams – where bad actors forge romantic relationships with victims through online platforms to trick them into stealing funds by various methods.

This includes requesting crypto outright or offering some form of fraudulent investment advice or malicious links to apps and websites that can drain the victim’s cryptocurrency wallets.

In a similar case, a 60-year-old Indian woman lost nearly $30,000 in a crypto investment scam after she was approached on the matrimonial site in March.

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