The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) has received a complaint from a California resident regarding a crypto investment.
The victim accepted a Friend Request on Facebook from “Alvin Robel.” After exchanging pleasantries, “Alvin” asked to move the chat to WhatsApp where the victim thought they were developing a relationship. After a few months, Alvin brought up trading cryptocurrencies as a way to help achieve financial goals. Alvin instructed the victim how to set up accounts on legitimate crypto platforms like crypto.com and the MetaTrader5 platform. Alvin said they could earn $10 million trading together and told victim she could buy a villa in Croatia. The victim even took out loans to facilitate the aggressive trading goals Alvin had set. Alvin even claimed to have injected his own money into the account after the victim tried to trade on her own. Finally, Alvin told the victim the account was worth $1.25 million, and he was going to fly out to California to meet her. He then claimed he was in San Francisco, but had to quarantine due to COVID. At that point, the victim was contacted by a “broker” who told her she needed to $95 in capital gains taxes to get the money out. After she paid that, the “broker” claimed the victim owed “spread fees” of $35,000. The victim has given more than $245,000 to the scammer including money taken out as loans borrowed from family and friends. The company operated a website at https://obgfx.cc.
This appears to be what is commonly called an “Advance Fee scheme,” which can take many forms, as discussed here: https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-scams-and-crimes/advance-fee-schemes. This also appears to be what’s known as a Romance Scam, which is described here: https://dfpi.ca.gov/2022/05/20/romance-scams-and-crypto-assets-fact-or-fraud/
The DFPI urges consumers to exercise extreme caution before responding to any solicitation offering investment or financial services. To check whether an investment or financial service provider is licensed in California, consumers may contact the Department for questions or inquiries at email@example.com or call toll-free at (866) 275-2677. If a consumer believes a person or company has violated state law or acted improperly regarding a consumer financial product or service, they may file a formal complaint with the DFPI at https://dfpi.ca.gov/file-a-complaint/.