From fake Twitter accounts claiming to send free Ether and Bitcoin to imposters sending fake emails to ICO investors, cryptocurrency scams are increasing at an alarming rate. Even Apple’s co-founder, Steve Wozniak, lost seven Bitcoins to an online fraud. The latest company to join the growing list of scammers is BTC Global. The binary options trading platform reportedly pocketed more than $50 million Bitcoins from people in South Africa, America, Australia and others.
More than 27,500 people filed complaints against the company to South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, usually known as the ‘Hawks‘. According to spokesperson Captain Lloyd Ramovha, “I have spoken to one of the investigators in our team and he has confirmed that this matter came to them about two weeks ago. There are in excess of 27‚500 complainants with many outside South Africa. The amount is over $50-million and could rise as more victims come forward.”
What is BTC Global?
BTC Global was launched in Sep. 25, 2017 by ‘famous’ trader Steven Twain. His success in binary options trading led people to believe that the platform was trustworthy. However, the set-up was criticized and called out for being a scam ever since it was released. Reviews questioned the “unmatched returns” offered by the company.
BTC Global first allowed people to purchase BTC from the platform, followed by an advise to invest in their company to get 2% to 14% returns weekly. Victims told South African newspaper Times LIVE that their investments varied from $1,341.92 (R16,000) to $0.1 million (R1.4 million).
Initially, people received dividends that were unpredictable, but two weeks ago, Twain disappeared from the online world. People immediately started reporting the company and investigations began a few days later. Ramovha explained the situation, “The investigation is in its infancy. I also cannot say whether it is a Ponzi scheme. BTC Global is being investigated for contravening the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act.”
The rest of the team published status updates on Facebook as well as an announcement on the official website. According to the BTC Global team, payment details were sent to Twain as per routine on Feb. 18, 2017 – but the team didn’t get a response from him. Ever since that day, no one in the leadership and admin team has heard a word from Twain. The announcement further stated:
The admin team cannot locate him. If anyone has ANY information on how we can get in contact with him please get in touch and let us know.
We call for the threats, harassment and violence on leaders and admin to stop. It is unfathomable that people can behave like this. If you feel you’ve had a crime committed against you, you need to follow the legal procedures to deal with the matter.
We are as shocked and angry as everyone. But we all knew the risks involved in placing funds with Steven.
We all became complacent with Steven. And all of us funded him independently.
Until Steven Twain resurfaces or is found there is nothing the admin team can do.
One of the team members, Cheri Ward, also filed criminal charges against a man who “threatened her at her home”. Others are also worried since their home addresses and phone numbers have been posted all over the internet by angry investors.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
By Habiba Tahir @ ccn.com