Cryptocurrency broker Reliable Option Trade appears to be engaged in fraud against California consumers
The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) has received a complaint from at least one California resident regarding a crypto investment.
The victim met “Mrs. Linda” and they communicated through WhatsApp. At some point, Linda convinced the victim to open an account with Reliable Option Trade and told him to deposit $500. The victim then got a message from the company’s Support Team saying he could get Bitcoin if he deposited another $1,000 into his account. Then he was asked to deposit another $3,500 but he told them he didn’t have that amount, so they convinced him to invest $2,000 instead. Later he was told his account was worth $24,000 so the victim decided to withdraw his money. He filled out the withdrawal form and submitted it, then got a call from broker who offered to trade for the victim so he could make more money. The broker advised him to download the Trust Wallet app, which he did. Now he cannot get his money out of the Trust Wallet, and he is still being asked by the broker to put in more money. The company operated a website at https://www.reliableoptiontrade.com.
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. This also appears to be what’s known as a Romance Scam, which is described here: https://dfpi.ca.gov/2022/05/20/romance-scams-and-crypto-assets-fact-or-fraud/
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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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