Binance TR, the Turkish arm of crypto exchange Binance, has warned investors in the region of an ongoing scam attempt that targets crypto investors via fake Binance-branded billboards and hoardings.
Turkey is home to a large number of crypto investors that account for over 7% of the total traffic to Binance’s primary platform through a desktop browser, as evidenced by data from Similarweb. Trying to cash in on Binance’s popularity in the country, scammers in Turkey have been found to rent numerous billboards to advertise fake Binance-themed opportunities.
In the latest warning issued by Binance Turkey, the billboard is shown sporting an advertisement for “Binance Tourist exchange” that has no affiliation with the original Binance, founded by Changpeng “CZ” Zhao. The ad also includes telephone numbers that, when dialed, can connect potential victims to scammers. A rough translation of the warning reads:
“For a while, billboards similar to the image below have been striking in different regions of Turkey [...and] has nothing to do with #Binance!”
Given the ease in tracking down the people responsible for renting out billboards and posting fraudulent advertisements targeted at crypto investors, Binance has revealed its intent to go on the offensive and take necessary legal against the people “who are clearly involved in fraudulent activities.”
Unwary investors who end up contacting the fake contact numbers are usually greeted by the scammer posing as Binance. With the ultimate goal to steal money in the form of crypto assets, scammers have been found to direct investors to create new accounts or share existing seed phrases.
Just last month, on April 15, Binance launched its first 24/7 customer service center in Turkey as it prepares to expand the service worldwide. As Cointelegraph previously reported, Binance set up customer support in Turkey with the primary goal to proactively mitigate fraud cases before it happens.
Investors who suspect being in contact with such scammers are advised to contact Binance’s official customer support through official channels, including the website or mobile application.
Owing to the massive interest in crypto among Turkish investors, the popular crypto exchange Coinbase reportedly planned to increase its footprint in the region by eying a purchase of local crypto exchange BtcTurk for $3.2 billion.
CEO and co-founder of crypto mining and investment platform Mining Capital Coin (MCC) Luiz Capuci has been indicted by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) for “allegedly orchestrating a $62 million global investment fraud scheme.”
The DOJ is charging Capuci with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit international money laundering in relation to several allegedly fraudulent schemes that were run via MCC. If found guilty, he faces a maximum prison sentence of 45 years.
According to the DOJ’s indictment, Capuci, alongside unnamed co-conspirators, is accused of misleading investors over the profit-bearing potential of MCC mining packages and a native token dubbed Capital Coin that was backed by the “biggest cryptocurrency mining operation in the world.”
As part of the mining packages, Capuci is said to have touted “substantial profits and guaranteed returns by using investors’ money to mine new cryptocurrency” but allegedly failed to deliver on the bargain:
“As alleged in the indictment, however, Capuci operated a fraudulent investment scheme and did not use investors’ funds to mine new cryptocurrency, as promised, but instead diverted the funds to cryptocurrency wallets under his control.”
Capuci is also accused of marketing dubious MCC trading bots “with new technology never seen before” that could conduct “thousands of trades per second “ and generate daily returns for investors.
“As he did with the Mining Packages, however, Capuci allegedly operated an investment fraud scheme with the Trading Bots and was not, as he promised, using MCC Trading Bots to generate income for investors, but instead was diverting the funds to himself and co-conspirators,” the DOJ indictment reads.
One of the first punitive measures leveled against Russia in response to the military invasion of Ukraine was the implementation of economic sanctions aimed at isolating the country from the international financial system. On March 12, Russian banks lost access to the international payments and messaging network SWIFT, and private sector payment companies, such as Visa, PayPal and Mastercard, were close behind. But while these highly regulated and publicly scrutinized organizations were quick to react to the crisis, concerns quickly mounted that the Russian state, as well as companies and oligarchs associated with it, could turn to digital currency exchanges as a backdoor to side-step sanctions.
In the United Kingdom, the Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority asked crypto firms to enforce sanctions across their platforms, and central banks and regulators around the world have since joined this chorus of concern. Most recently, Japan announced it would be revising its Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act. This aims to widen its breadth to apply to crypto assets, meaning exchanges will be required to assess whether their clients are Russian sanction targets.
And yet some of the most well-known crypto exchanges are still dragging their feet, reluctant to toe the line drawn by global policymakers and regulators. Binance, the world’s biggest exchange, as well as Coinbase and Kraken, have all shown empathy for the plight of Ukrainians, and some have frozen accounts linked to sanctioned individuals, but they have all stopped short of stepping back out of Russia or blocking all money flows into and out of the country.
As the CEO of Poland’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, I understand the moral dilemma they face, torn between free-market ideals and a sense of moral duty, but as this devastating human tragedy unfolds in Eastern Europe, we as an industry must be doing more to condemn the violence through access to our platforms. At Zonda, we didn’t make the decision to withdraw from Russia lightly, but we did make it quickly, and in so doing voted for peace, transparency and respect for the spirit of global regulation. Failure to do so will be seen by many around the world as indifference at best or, at worst, active support.
This Daily Dose was brought to you by Cointelegraph.