Dominguez seeks DOJ help vs bitcoin scammers
MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte’s chief economic manager has sought assistance from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to stop online scammers luring netizens into bitcoin investments they claimed were being endorsed by top Philippine officials and celebrities.
In a July 28 letter to Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III pointed to a “series of false information posted on Facebook involving the fraudulent use of my name to promote a fake cryptocurrency auto-trading platform called ‘bitcoin revolution.’”
The letter attached some screenshots of Facebook posts, which had Dominguez’s photo accompanied by texts claiming his supposed “latest investment has experts in awe and big banks terrified.”
“Similar investment ploys using the names of some Finance and Treasury officials in other countries as well as Filipino celebrities is likewise used in an attempt to dupe the public into falling for the scam,” Dominguez explained.
In one of the screencaps, Dominguez’s picture was side-by-side with TV host Vic Sotto’s photo.
“Although this incident had been reported to Facebook to prevent the spread of these hoaxes, the perpetrator of such acts may still continue to find other avenues to pursue their malicious activities. Thus, we request the assistance of the DOJ Cybercrime Office to track, identify, and prosecute those responsible for these posts,” Dominguez told Guevarra.
Last May, the Department of Finance (DOF) also flagged the “fake news” that no less than President Rodrigo Duterte himself had been supposedly urging Filipinos to invest in the “bitcoin lifestyle” platform.
To stop this fraud, the DOF was enjoining the public to report suspicious cryptocurrency investments to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) enforcement and investor protection department.
According to an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report titled “Cryptoassets in Asia: Consumer attitudes, behaviors and experiences” published last year, the majority of Filipinos had been aware of cryptocurrencies but actual holdings remained low because such digital assets were deemed risky.
Also, the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) had said the Philippines could “become an important market for crypto assets” since it continued to attract more new virtual currency exchanges (VCEs).
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