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SFC Cracks Down: Hong Kong Regular Blacklists Fake Crypto Exchanges

Published March 4, 2024 12:59 PM
Teuta Franjkovic
Published March 4, 2024 12:59 PM
By Teuta Franjkovic
Verified by Peter Henn

Key Takeaways

  • Fake websites are impersonating licensed exchanges.
  • Hong Kong’s SFC warns of potential wider scam.
  • There have been a series of alerts and increasing regulations.

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong issued a public warning  on March 4 about fraudulent websites posing as  licensed cryptocurrency exchanges.

A notice highlighted  that multiple websites are mimicking the appearance and branding of Hash Blockchain Limited and OSL Digital Securities Limited, with the intent of deceiving users. Hash and OSL are the only two exchanges with a license in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Regulator Alerts on Fake Crypto Exchange Scams

The SFC raised the alarm over a scam after fraudulent websites duped investors. Affected individuals were unable to withdraw funds and were charged exorbitant fees to access assets.

In response, the SFC has urged investors to thoroughly research and verify the legitimacy of any cryptocurrency exchange before engagement. The Hong Kong police have also taken action by shutting down the fraudulent sites.

SFC Urges Investor Vigilance

Moreover, the regulator has issued a warning about the potential existence of other misleading platforms. It also encourages investors to confirm the registration status of any financial institution they plan to deal with.

The notice said :

“The SFC once again reminds the public that online investment scams may involve any type of assets and are perpetrated through multiple channels, including social media and instant messaging apps.  Investors should stay vigilant and verify the legitimacy of a virtual asset trading platform before making any transactions.”

Series of Alerts

This incident is the latest in a series of alerts from Hong Kong authorities regarding scam websites.

Last month, the regulatory body issued a public caution against a fake entity posing as the crypto exchange MEXC Global, which deceived individuals into participating in a cryptocurrency investment scam.

Hong Kong has emerged as a preferred location for cryptocurrency exchanges, because of its clear regulatory framework and advantageous positioning in the Asian market.

In its latest initiative to license crypto exchanges, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) saw applications from several prominent exchanges such as Crypto.com, OKX, HTX, and ByBit, seeking authorization to operate legally within the region.

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