A Hong Kong fashion executive lost 6 million Hong Kong dollars (approximately $764,000) in a crypto scam while trying to adopt a kitten online.
On Wednesday, local authorities said that the 58-year-old woman believed she was adopting a 3-month-old kitten in Thailand from an online acquaintance in April last year.
She communicated with the unidentified person, who posed as a female pet lover, over WhatsApp.
While the kitten was supposedly free to adopt, the woman was asked to settle a delivery fee in cryptocurrency. She then complied by opening a cryptocurrency account and sending bitcoin to the scammer’s e-wallet.
However, the fashion executive was told that the kitten had died while being transported to Hong Kong in mid-May.
According to police, the scammer then posed as a foreign bank employee offering her $152,400 in insurance compensation; however, she would have to pay an administration fee upfront to release the insurance funds.
The victim reportedly made 40 Bitcoin payments
over the course of five months that were collectively worth around $764,000. It was only in January of this year that she realized that it was a scam when she was asked for more money.
The fashion executive has reported her case to the police.
No arrests have been made as of this writing.
“Cryptocurrency and NFTs are highly speculative virtual assets,” police said, according to Channel News Asia. “Caution must be heeded when conducting relevant transactions and investment.”
As crypto scams have surged worldwide, Hong Kong police have reportedly handled 18,660 reports of cybercrimes between January and October last year.
In September 2022, they launched a platform to help people in the city conduct checks on suspicious email addresses, phone numbers and websites.