South African Investors Swindled Out of More Than $50 Million Through Bitcoin Scam
While the popularity of cryptocurrencies is ever increasing and more and more people are getting involved in the investment side of digital currencies, there are still a lot of pitfalls in the sector that need to be avoided.
Whenever there is an industry where significant sums of money are flooding in, there will be people trying to take advantage of this and looking to make a quick buck.
This is especially the case when investors aren’t as well informed as they might be due to the relative newness of this technology. There have been a number of high-profile scams that have done the rounds, with the latest significant one being located in South Africa.
Over 27,000 people are said to be affected by this scam, including residents of South Africa, Australia, and the United States and is believed to potentially be the biggest bitcoin scam to hit South Africa.
What are the Details of this Scam?
Hawks is the nickname given to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation in South Africa, and they have received complaints from over 27,500 people in relation this scam. To date, the size of the complaints is over $50 million, with this figure likely to rise in the coming weeks as more people come out of the woodwork and speak about their experiences.
The company at the center of this scam is called BTC Global, and they were started on September 25, 2017, by an individual named Steven Twain. He was supposedly a successful binary options trader which he was using to make himself look credible and trustworthy. However, ever since this platform was first launched, there have been people labeling it as being a scam and untrustworthy.
This did not stop them from receiving significant investments on their platform which initially allowed people to purchase bitcoin. This shortly led to the company advising their users to invest their funds into BTC Global as they would see returns of two to 14 percent generated on a weekly basis.
Victims of this scam have been talking to newspapers in South Africa detailing how their investments in BTC Global ranged from $1,000 up to $100,000.
There were dividends issued at the start, but they were released on a random basis. It was toward the end of February that Twain completely vanished from the internet which led to the company being reported and investigations beginning.
Has There Been a Response From BTC Global?
The BTC Global team issued a response on their Facebook page and website detailing how they sent payment details to Twain as always on February 18, but there was no response received. Since then, nobody within the company has been able to get in touch with Twain, and they are actively looking for people with information about getting in contact with him.
In their statement, they said “We all became complacent with Steven. And all of us funded him independently.” So it seems that the team themselves were caught up in this scam and potentially were not privy to what Twain was planning.