Cryptocurrency scams are on the rise in Portugal. Two investors from Cantanhede in the Coimbra District fell victim to fraudsters, losing a total of more than $312,000. According to local law enforcement, an increasing number of people are becoming targets of crypto scams in the country.

The two victims were enticed by the prospect of quick profits through “staking” their coins on a platform. One of them sent $213,000 worth of Bitcoin (BTC) to an entity they thought was a legitimate crypto company.

They anticipated earning over $800,000 by holding their BTC on the platform. Meanwhile, the other victim also fell for the scam and sent approximately $94,000 to the same fraudulent firm within a month.

However, it turned out that the firm was a front for an elaborate scam, and both investors ended up losing their money. Suspicion arose when they were informed that they needed to pay an additional 3% in fees to withdraw their tokens.

Subsequently, they were told that their coins had been “frozen” and could only be recovered by paying substantial “unlocking fees.” Realizing they had fallen prey to a scam, the duo reported the incident to the police.

Rising Crypto Scams and Government Response: Portugal’s Growing Challenge

Surge in Crypto Scams in Portugal Results in $312k Loss for Two Investors

Crypto scams are increasing in Portugal, a country once seen as a safe haven for crypto investors with no tax on crypto trading profits until recently. The Cybercrime Office in the nation revealed that cryptocurrency-related scams have more than doubled in the past two years.

In 2023, there were 94 reports of such scams, a stark contrast to the 38 reported in 2021. These victims have suffered substantial financial losses across different platforms.

The Attorney General’s Office observed that numerous platforms had already gone offline by the time victims lodged complaints. This situation left investigators with no leads or contact details to trace the servers used by these fraudulent entities.

Earlier this year, Portuguese prosecutors revealed a notable increase in cybercrime cases, including undisclosed numbers of cryptocurrency scams. In response, the government announced plans to impose a 28% tax on cryptocurrency-related capital gains starting in 2022.

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