The number of virtual currency enquiries that the FSA’s Counseling Office for Financial Services Users received in the quarter to September 30th was 26% higher than in the preceding quarter.
Virtual currencies spark a growing number of questions among investors in Japan. This is highlighted by the latest numbers provided by Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA).
According to the data, the FSA’s Counseling Office for Financial Services Users received a total of 685 investor enquiries about virtual currencies in the quarter to September 30, 2017. This is more than 26% higher than in 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 notes.
The numbers are 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.
The FSA also provided data on investment products enquiries. Their number has decreased slightly – from 2,218 to 2,138 cases. Of these, 175 cases (8%) concerned Forex.
There are 159 reports about fraudulent investment solicitation, and 107 of these reported financial losses as a result of this solicitation. Elderly people often fall victim to such scams, according to the data.
This is in line with earlier reports by the regulator. During the quarter from January 1, 2017 to March 31, 2017, the counseling service received 197 reports of cases of fraudulent investment solicitation, with the bulk of the complaints coming from elderly people. Around 21% of the complaints came from people in their 70s, whereas 20% came from people in their 60s. People in their 80s accounted for 10% of these complaints.