Bitcoin scam

FIU director Razim Buksh. Picture: FT FILE/RAMA

The Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) says there are currently no authorised virtual assets service providers in Fiji.

It made this announcement as it warned the public of a crypto currency scam in Fiji whereby the scammers had circulated advertisements on various Viber and other social media groups using the official logo of a Government agency and staff photo.

FIU director Razim Buksh, in a press statement said the fake advertisements state that individuals in Fiji could purchase bitcoin, foreign exchange and binary trading using their mobile money wallets or bank transfers.

The advertisement provides two phone numbers for further enquiries – a local number and a foreign number.

Mr Buksh said the FIU had implemented anti-money laundering regulatory controls and preventative measures so that suspected scam transactions were detected and reported to the Fiji FIU by commercial banks, money remittance service providers and other financial institutions in Fiji.

He said those wishing to engage in offshore investments, including, the trading of cryptocurrency or other virtual assets, must seek prior approval from the Reserve Bank of Fiji.

He added that since the offshore investment facility was currently suspended, people would be contravening the Exchange Control Act if they engage in any unauthorised offshore investment.

Meanwhile the FIU also advised members of the public that only Fijian currency issued by the Reserve Bank of Fiji was legal tender in Fiji, adding that there were currently no authorised virtual assets service providers in Fiji.

According to the FIU the following are a few red flags or indicators that can help people identify if they 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; and

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.

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