Financial Intel warns about cryptocurrency scam

Advertisements being circulated on various Viber and other social media groups stating that individuals in Fiji can purchase bitcoin, foreign exchange and binary trading using their mobile money wallets or bank transfers are fake, the Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit warns advising the public to be vigilant.

Members of the public are also asked to be watchful when receiving offers for investments, loans, and employment on any online or social media platform. 

In addition, the FIU advises the public that offshore investments including, the trading of cryptocurrency or other virtual assets, must seek prior approval from the Reserve Bank of Fiji. 

However, with the offshore investment facility currently suspended, the FIU warns that engaging in such investments would be contravening 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,” FIU Director Razim Buksh said.

He adds that the FIU has implemented anti-money laundering regulatory controls and preventative measures so that suspected scam transactions are detected and reported to the Fiji  FIU by commercial banks, money remittance service providers and other financial institutions in Fiji. 

The following are a few red flags or indicators that can help you  identify if you are dealing with a scammer: 

1. Use of existing marketing material of government agencies or reputable entities. These are usually  fake; 

2. 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; 

3. Aggressive sellers who may provide exaggerated or false credentials including guarantees that the  investment will perform a certain way; 

4. No physical address can be found; 

5. 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; 

6. Limited documentation provided regarding the investment, loan or product offered; 

7. 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. 

8. The return on investment, profit, or revenue offered is excessively high and is too good to be true; and 9. Spelling and grammatical errors are present in the advertisements and documents provided.

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