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HomeBTCHong Kong SFC Blocks Fake Crypto Exchange Websites to Protect Investors

Hong Kong SFC Blocks Fake Crypto Exchange Websites to Protect Investors

In a significant move to protect investors, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has recently cracked down on a series of fraudulent websites masquerading as prominent local cryptocurrency exchanges. On March 4, the SFC issued a stark warning against multiple suspicious websites that were found to be impersonating two of the region’s licensed crypto trading platforms: OSL Digital Securities and Hash Blockchain Limited, also known under the brand name HashKey.

The regulatory body identified and subsequently blocked access to six websites, namely hskexpro.com, hskex.com, hskexs.com, hskexit.com, oslexu.com, and oslint.com. These actions were prompted by complaints from users about difficulties in withdrawing funds and the exorbitant fees and commissions being charged for such transactions. In response to the SFC’s directives, the Hong Kong Police Force has implemented measures to restrict access to these counterfeit domains.

The fake websites have been added to the SFC’s official crypto alert list, which also includes other fraudulent domains posing as legitimate exchanges, such as MEXC. This is not the first instance of the SFC taking action against imposters; on February 9, it blacklisted eight websites for impersonating MEXC.

The SFC has advised investors to exercise caution and conduct thorough checks before engaging with crypto trading platforms. It recommends the use of its public register of licensed persons and registered institutions, as well as the list of licensed virtual asset trading platforms, to verify the authenticity of exchanges and their official websites. Furthermore, the SFC emphasizes the importance of confirming the counterparty’s identity before initiating any transactions.

Highlighting the challenges in distinguishing between legitimate and counterfeit websites, Bartosz Barwikowski, a layer-1 security expert at blockchain security firm Hacken, pointed out that verifying the authenticity of a website can be particularly challenging for users accessing it for the first time. Barwikowski suggests that users should rely on mobile applications, which are harder to fake, and consult trusted third-party websites, such as government portals or cer.live, for verification.

This crackdown comes shortly after the SFC’s announcement that it had closed the latest round of applications for crypto exchange licenses on February 29. Exchanges that failed to apply by this deadline are required to cease operations in the region within three months, underscoring the SFC’s commitment to regulating the virtual asset space and safeguarding investors from fraudulent activities.

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