FIU warns Fijians of cryptocurrency scam

Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit director Razim Buksh. Picture: SUPPLIED/FILE

The Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is warning members of the public of a current cryptocurrency scam in the country.

The FIU stated those scammers had circulated advertisements on various Viber and other social media groups using theofficial logo of a government agency and staff photo.

“These advertisements are fake,” FIU director Razim Buksh said.

“The fake advertisements state that individuals in Fiji can purchase bitcoin, foreign exchange and binary trading using their mobile money wallets or bank transfers.

“The advertisement provides two phone numbers for further enquiries. A local number and a foreign number.”

The FIU has advised the general public to be vigilant when receiving offers for investments, loans and employment on any online or social media platform.

The FIU has provided a list of what it has described as red flags or indicators that can anyone identify a scammer:

  • Use of existing marketing material of government agencies or reputable entities. These are usually fake;
  • You are asked to deposit funds into different accounts held in the names of an individual as opposed to a business or a reputable financial institution;
  • Aggressive sellers who may provide exaggerated or false credentials including guarantees that the investment will perform a certain way;
  • No physical address can be found;
  • Undue pressure and constant follow-up to complete the transaction quickly and threat to lose the offer if funds are not transferred or upfront deposit is not paid;
  • Limited documentation provided regarding the investment, loan or product offered;
  • Certificate of investment, bank guarantee, confirmation of account and transaction, customs and tax clearance certificates, employment contract and other similar documents provided to you are fake although it may look genuine. Remember that such documents that are issued by a government agency or a reputable institution is never offered via any instant messaging app or through social media;
  • The return on investment, profit or revenue offered is excessively high and is too good to be true; and
  • Spelling and grammatical errors are present in the advertisements and documents provided.

Mr Buksh said members of the public wishing to engage in offshore investments, including, the trading of cryptocurrency or other virtual assets, must seek prior approval from the Reserve Bank of Fiji.

But he added that offshore investment facility was presently suspended, and any engagement in unauthorised offshore investment would contravene the Exchange Control Act.

“Members of the public are advised that only Fijian currency issued by the Reserve Bank of Fiji is legal tender in Fiji. There are currently no authorised virtual assets service providers in Fiji.

“Transactions involving foreign currency will be conducted through commercial banks, authorised foreign exchange dealers and money changers in Fiji.”

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