MOSSEL BAY NEWS - The Hawks are investigating a case of fraud involving up to R5-million in a so-called cryptocurrency investment scheme that was run by a company called Trinity Tokens in Mossel Bay.
IRS Forensic Investigations' Chad Thomas says it is estimated that there may be as many as 300 victims in and around Mossel Bay.
IRS has been approached by a group of investors from Mossel Bay who fell victim to the scheme.
The case was reported to the Mossel Bay police station and has since been directed to the Hawks for further investigation.
No one has yet been arrested.
Thomas says the scammers also had an office in Knysna. Both the Mossel Bay office and the Knysna office closed down and the suspects have disappeared.
"We have information that this is a national syndicate that has been operating in different small towns for a number of years now," says Thomas. One of the victims, who wanted to stay anonymous, told Mossel Bay Advertiser that they had high hopes, but the Trinity "guys" failed them. "I invested R1 000. They said it was a 15-day promotion but on our pay-out dates they were nowhere to be found. We phoned them but no one answered and that's when we realised something was wrong."
Thomas says the suspects were slick and brazen.
"Normally, scammers operating in the cryptocurrency forex trading space hide behind computers and lure their victims in through social media, whereas in this case, these guys operated in plain sight giving slick presentations directly from their offices."
He says they have established through information received, that the scammers having been operating for a number of years and travel to different towns in different provinces and then disappear in the middle of the night.
"A lot of information has come in via our reporting platforms and we believe that we will be able to establish the true identity of these suspects and their whereabouts. All information will be passed on to the state law enforcement agencies immediately to assist in this case."
IRS Forensic Investigations give the following tips to people looking to invest their money with third parties:
- Make sure that the person giving you advice and their company are registered with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority.
- Be very wary of get-rich-quick schemes. It is generally not possible to double, treble or quadruple your investment in a short space of time.
- If you don't understand the product that you are investing in, then don't invest in it.
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