Cryptocurrency broker Penzo Limited appears to be engaged in fraud against California consumers
The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) has received a complaint from a California resident regarding a crypto investment.
The victim was contacted by an individual through Facebook promising great returns in cryptocurrency investing. The victim wired funds to Coinbase to purchase cryptocurrency, then sent that to the MetaTrader5 platform through his mobile device. The scammer showed a demo example where a $100,000 investment could earn profits of $11,000. The scammer showed the victim pictures of her lavish lifestyle and said she could help him achieve success. Then the scammer walked the victim through a step-by-step process, transferring his money into the scammer’s account on the platform, then sending screenshots showing she had earned $200,000. The scammer then asked the victim if he wanted to transfer even more money. At that point, he became concerned asked for his money back. The scammer told him he had lost all his money and it was his fault for making bad trades. In all, the victim was scammed out of $10,000. The company operated the website https://penzolead.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 Social Media 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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