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Cryptocurrency websites NVEX.io, Konim.com Bihui and Mercatox.com appear to be engaged in fraud against California consumers

Jun 15, 2022

The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) has received a complaint from a California resident regarding cryptocurrency fraud.

A California resident told DFPI she gave more than $500,000 to some stranger she met online using the name “Zhang Tian Yi (Herman)”, who told her to download various crypto apps (i.e., NVEX, Konim, Mercatox) to buy cryptocurrency.  She invested a small amount through the NVEX app at first and thought the money would be used to invest in “binary options.” Herman told her she had made a profit, and encouraged her to invest more money, promising a bonus if she invested a certain amount. Then, Herman told her NVEX was no longer working and told her to move the money to Konim. Later, he told her Konim was not reliable and that she should transfer all the money to Mercatox instead. At some point, the victim tried to withdraw her money and found out the money was no longer in her name, but rather in the name of Herman. She was told her account was frozen, but if she paid a fee it would be unfrozen. Then, was told anyone withdrawing $100,000 or more needed to pay 15% of their balance in income tax, which she did.  Then Herman told her he had moved the money to a new app called Bihui. Bihui customer service told her shee needed to pay $20,000 in fees to withdraw, in addition to a $10,000 handling fee. At some point she was longer able to contact Bihui. Later, she learned Herman, was using someone else’s Instagram pictures, and he has been unresponsive to her attempts to contact him.

This appears to be what is commonly called an “Advance Fee scheme,” which can take many forms, as discussed here:  https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-scams-and-crimes/advance-fee-schemes.

The DFPI urges consumers to exercise extreme caution before responding to any solicitation offering investment or financial services.  To check whether an investment or financial service provider is licensed in California, consumers may contact the Department for questions or inquiries at ask.dfpi@dfpi.ca.gov or call toll-free at (866) 275-2677.  If a consumer believes a person or company has violated state law or acted improperly regarding a consumer financial product or service, they may file a formal complaint with the DFPI at https://dfpi.ca.gov/file-a-complaint/.

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Last updated: Jun 15, 2022 @ 4:17 pm