Fraudsters are abusing GMO Internet’s name and reputation by launching a fraudulent website and Twitter account purportedly offering Bitcoin mining equipment.
Bitcoin-related scams are becoming more aggressive and are now abusing the names of well-established businesses. The latest example is provided by Japanese online services provider GMO Internet Inc. (TYO:9449), which runs, inter alia, a number of businesses related to cryptocurrencies – a virtual currency trading business, a cryptocurrency mining business and a cloud mining business. GMO Internet has recently confirmed that Bitcoin mining scammers are making use of its reputation and brand.
The company has confirmed the presence of impersonation website selling Bitcoin mining machine and impersonation Twitter account redirecting to the fraudulent website.
This website and Twitter account are using GMO’s company name and logo without its permission, and are unassociated with GMO Internet. The Japanese online giant says it will not be liable for any activities on this impersonation site. The company notes that it does not sell its mining related machine.
GMO advises the members of the public that have used this impersonation site to contact the criminal investigation unit, that is, the police.
The official cryptocurrency mining related websites of GMO Internet are shown below:
- Cryptocurrency mining business: https://mining.gmo.jp/en/
- Cloud mining business “Z.com Cloud Mining”: https://cloudmining.z.com/en/
In the meantime, virtual currencies trigger a growing number of questions among investors in Japan, according to data provided by the FSA in December last year . The FSA Counseling Office for Financial Services Users said back then that it had received a total of 685 investor enquiries about virtual currencies in the quarter to September 30, 2017. This marks a rise of more than 26% from the quarter to June 30, 2017, when the FSA received a total of 543 such enquiries. The great majority of these questions are general enquiries, the FSA noted.
These data were released soon after Japan’s National Police Agency announced that cybercrime reports reached record high in the first six months of 2017. A total of 69,977 reports of cybercrimes were received by the police in the January-June 2017 period, up 4.9% from the equivalent period in 2016. More than 20 incidents involving the theft of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies were reported to the police, leading to losses of JPY 59.2 million. There were 13 cases involving Bitcoin hacks, 11 cases involving Ripple and 2 cases involving Ethereum. There was also a report about several digital currencies having been attacked at the same time. Crypto currency thefts were reported in 13 prefectures.