Police are reminding potential investors to be wary following numerous reports in recent weeks of people falling victim to a cryptocurrency investment scams.
Detective Sergeant James Robson, of the Auckland City Financial Crime Unit, says Police have been assessing reports involving a company calling itself “Quwiex Limited” that was promising victims high daily returns through their platform.
“This company was registered in New Zealand in late September 2021 through information which has now been established as falsified,” says Detective Sergeant Robson.
Police have made enquiries into the supposed director of this company, including a supplied New Zealand address.
“Unfortunately, the identity documents are fake and there is no connection to the address supplied,” says Detective Sergeant Robson.
“No actual links to New Zealand have been able to be identified, which means those involved in this scam are based offshore.”
Detective Sergeant Robson says the victims have unwittingly become involved in a scheme that bears all the hallmarks of a Ponzi scheme.
A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment scheme in which the operator pays returns on investments derived from new investors, rather than from legitimate investment profits.
“In the case of ‘Quwiex Limited’ victims initially received interest accruals on their investment and were able to withdraw funds.
“In mid-April, this scheme suspended withdraws citing a website upgrade. However, the website was deactivated on the date the upgrade was supposed to be complete.”
Investors’ funds had disappeared.
“Police acknowledge the financial distress falling victim to one of these schemes can cause,” says Detective Sergeant Robson.
“Unfortunately, as these scammers are based offshore the likelihood of recovering their losses are quite low.”
Police are advising victims of the scam not to engage with companies or persons offering the prospect of recovering their funds.
“In our experience these services, which requires victims to pay, have not achieved any positive results.”
Police continue to advise prospective investors to be vigilant to potential scams. The Financial Markets Authority provides helpful advice on its website to help avoid falling victim to online investments scams.
It also has advice on what to do if you are in the unfortunate position of becoming a victim of such a scam. Please visit https://www.fma.govt.nz