An online trading mobile application has deprived thousands of Pakistani cryptocurrency investors of more than Rs. 1 billion of their hard-earned money on the pretense of making easy profits by just betting on the price of Bitcoin.
The application in question is known as the “HFC Pak Trading App.” The scammers behind the application approached over 40,000 unsuspecting individuals to make them download the application.
For betting, the users were required to convert real cash into cryptocurrency through a digital money changer and deposit it in their accounts within the application. They were then asked to log on to the application four times a day for five-minute-long sessions to bet on the price of Bitcoin by using the cryptocurrency in their accounts.
The investment made by cryptocurrency enthusiasts ranged between $30 and $50,000. The scammers initially gave some profit to the users to win their confidence.
Motivated by easy profit, the users not only made more investment but also referred the trading platform to their friends, for which they were given bonuses.
Moreover, the scammers also used to arrange parties at upscale hotels for the users of the HFC Pak Trading App. The videos of the parties were shared on different social networking sites, which in turn brought more people to the platform.
However, earlier this month on 19 December, the application crashed and has been offline since. The scammers have gone underground with the hard-earned Rs. 1 billion of the investors.
Meanwhile, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has registered a case against the owners of the HFC Pak Trading App and further investigation is underway.
Head of FIA Sindh’s Cyber Crime Wing (CCW), Imran Riaz, has urged the victims to come forward and share the details of their investment with the CCW team investigating the scam.
Speaking in this regard, a cryptocurrency expert has said that he has scanned the accounts of the users of the HFC Pak Trading App and there were more than Rs. 1 billion in them. However, the owners of the applications have withdrawn the money which can only be traced by the authorities.