Bitcoin and other alternate cryptocurrencies have been used as a tool for scammers to dupe victims by promising them massive returns on investment. Now it seems these bad actors are also targeting central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), and China’s digital yuan seems to be the new target.
Some fraudulent organizations in China are pretending to be promoters of digital yuan and trying to scam locals. Per a report from the cybercrime unit of the Weifang police force in Shandong Province, local authorities have recently issued a warning against a “sophisticated” CBDC-themed scam.
Dubbed the “Central Bank’s International Wallet”, the scammers are presenting themselves as a digital yuan wallet platform. The scammers claim to give the victims access to a “secret CBDC promotion fund” worth $186 million. The fake application has reportedly managed to dupe at least 500 users until now.
In the report, the Weifang police have quoted an earlier report from local media outlet Sina. The scammers reportedly claimed that their victims could earn profits up to $24,800. The wallet isn’t even live yet, but scammer claim it will be launched in March.
Weifang Police’s cybercrime unit, however, has raised concerns regarding this platform because the scammers are already in possession of the personal details of users like bank details and real names, via a smartphone app.
The scammers have also claimed that all the funds collected would be used to promote digital yuan usage on both national and global levels. In addition, they promise victims they would get a 2% bonus on every deposit.
China’s central bank has been actively warning residents regarding these bogus organizations claiming to be digital yuan promoters. However, the People’s Bank of China states that such offers turn out to be just Ponzi schemes hiding behind “multi-level marketing strategies.”
Amidst largescale CBDC efforts
Meanwhile, several municipal authorities in China are utilizing airdrops and lotteries as means of bootstrapping early adoption of the Digital Currency Electronic Payment. The nation is also rapidly developing the underlying infrastructure upon which the CBDC eco-system will stand.
As previously reported by The Daily Chain, a local Chinese bank has developed a hardware wallet for the digital yuan that supports biometric security. Another bank is allowing ATM machines in select Shenzen branches to convert customer funds from their savings accounts or cash into digital yuan via their smartphones and vice versa.