A group of students in Tauranga has sued one of its teachers after losing more than $ 5000 in a cryptocurrency fraud.
Otūmoetai College teacher Deon Wessels has done tentative research on crypto investing without creating funds, but was persuaded to do so through the WhatsApp messaging platform.
The company claims to be a “UK-based legal firm”, made up of a team of “professional traders” in crypto and coin exchanges.
After a convincing tone, Wessels, a 66 -year -old electronics teacher, took the plunge.
* The bank couldn’t stop a woman sending $ 30,000 to a fake boyfriend
* He believes the Apple App Store is safe. Then the fake app steals your life savings in bitcoin
* Cryptocurrency fraud victims share experience to prevent more people from becoming victims
“The woman I spoke to was very friendly,” he said. “We talked about football and all things. He said it was the best investment he had ever made and he was going to open offices in New Zealand and Australia. These people are very cunning.”
After the initial investment, made after being promised a 25 percent return in the first 24 hours, the alarm bell began to ring.
“It wasn’t until later that they told me that the plan I had signed up required me to invest $ 1000 per week,” Sa Wessels.
“That’s when I said ‘go on, this isn’t true.’ He then told me that the funds were automatically reinvested every 24 hours, and I couldn’t touch the money until the end of the season. I didn’t even know there was a term.
“He accused me of not asking the right questions, but how do you know what questions should be asked unless the plan is reviewed?”
As the panic went on, the company in question told Wessels its only option was to invest more than 50 percent of the amount it first put down and move on to another plan.
“This is a requirement and I have no choice,” he said. “He assured me this would fix it and I would be able to withdraw the money, but the rules were changed again. That’s when I knew I wasn’t going to get any money out of it. The money had run out.”
In total, Wessels lost $ 5079 of his life savings, and a call to his bank, BNZ, confirmed his worst fears. The so -called investment company, simply blocked the Wessels number and stopped all communications.
“It seems that if you put money into a crypto wallet, it will disappear into the ether,” Wessels said. “You have no recourse, and it’s not going to come back. This company knows this – they know exactly what they’re doing.
Moral support came from Otūmoetai College students after Wessels shared his experience with a group of 13th grade students.
After a brief internet search, one student quickly confirmed that despite the claims, the company was not registered in the Company’s House in the UK, and also did not have a physical address or contact details.
“A bunch of kids started researching this company, and it had no name, no address,” he said. “The woman I spoke to claimed to be in London. The listed company number shown on the website doesn’t exist. I should have done that from day one I guess.
“I’m very proud of my students. I get them to come out and remind others, and what they’ve done. Luckily I have a good relationship with them.”
One of the students was Logan Roelofs – a 17 -year -old from Otūmoetai who, along with his friends, became very concerned about his teacher. A quick fix as far as they are concerned to issue a warning to others.
“They’re trying to find vulnerable people who don’t know how crypto works,” Roelofs said. “Then they convince people to pay their own money.
“He believed that he offered a safe way to invest in crypto, and eventually he contacted him.
“For us, it’s about raising awareness and making the public know that these so -called companies are using the popularity of cryptocurrency to get money from people – people who are vulnerable and may not have any knowledge of how it works.”
“They keep giving rules about percentages, and it happens to be random and very complicated. It’s a tactic designed to confuse people so they can pay more money.
Wessels ’new knowledge of how cryptocurrency works is supported by a bank, BNZ, which acknowledges the apparent increase in crypto fraud.
“They generally involve phishing emails or fake websites, or messages via Instagram, Facebook or WhatsApp that advertise cryptocurrency investment opportunities with incredible returns,” said BNZ spokesman Mike Burgess.
Unlike other financial investments, which are regulated by the New Zealand Financial Markets Authority, cryptocurrency is not regulated by a central authority. This means there is no recourse if there is a problem.
“Regardless of whether it’s crypto fraud or some other type of fraud, the same precautions apply – if it’s really good, you’re asked to keep it a secret, or you feel rushed to make a decision, then it’s likely a scam.
Burgess encourages potential investors to check a website carefully, no matter how legitimate it looks, and make the web address match what appears on the page.
“Importantly, if you think you’ve been a victim of a scam, contact your bank directly,” he adds, “because if you transfer money to a scammer, they’ll quickly switch to cryptocurrency without a trace and then transfer it back to an unknown wallet on the spot. elsewhere in this world.
Data released by the ASB earlier this month confirmed what it called the “dark side effects” of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the number of New Zealanders falling victim to the scam starting to emerge in March 2020.