March 27, 2024
Latest Cryptocurrency News

Hong Kong SFC Cracks Down on Fake Crypto Exchanges

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has thwarted attempts by online fraudsters to impersonate licensed cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the region. In an official warning issued on March 4, the SFC identified and blocked six fake websites masquerading as major local exchanges, including OSL Digital Securities and Hash Blockchain Limited, also known as HashKey.

The blocked websites, such as hskexpro.com and oslexu.com, were flagged after reports surfaced of fund withdrawal difficulties and exorbitant fees associated with transactions. The SFC, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Police Force, took swift action to block access to these deceptive domains.

This is not the first time the SFC has encountered such fraudulent activity. In February, the regulator blacklisted eight domains impersonating another crypto exchange, MEXC.

Hong Kong’s SFC releases fake websites alert list. Source: SFC

The SFC urged investors to exercise caution and verify the legitimacy of trading platforms by consulting its public register of licensed entities and the list of licensed virtual asset trading platforms. The regulator emphasized the importance of confirming the identity of the counterparty before engaging in any financial transactions.

Bartosz Barwikowski, a layer-1 security expert at blockchain security firm Hacken, highlighted the challenge of distinguishing between genuine and fake websites, especially for first-time users. He recommended relying on trusted third-party sources rather than search engines or social media channels susceptible to manipulation by scammers.

Barwikowski proposed two strategies for users to steer clear of fraudulent websites: “Use mobile apps instead of websites, they are much harder to fake. Just in case, they should have a lot of reviews before you trust them. Check the website of the third trusted party — it can be a government website or cer.live when it comes to exchanges.”

The crackdown on fake crypto exchanges follows the recent closure of the latest round of licensing applications on February 29. Crypto exchanges failing to register by the deadline must exit the region within three months, marking a concerted effort by Hong Kong authorities to regulate the digital asset space.

Image by vectorjuice on Freepik

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