Cybersecurity News that Matters

Cybersecurity News that Matters

Financial Security Institute warns online investors of new scam: fraudulent online trading platforms

by Minkyung Shin

Apr. 23, 2024
10:05 PM GMT+9

The Financial Security Institute (FSI) has issued a warning about online fraudsters perpetrating a new financial scam: exploiting simulated online trading and investment platforms to extort money from unsuspecting investors.

On Monday, the FSI, a government-affiliated organization responsible for safeguarding South Korea’s financial integrity, released a report detailing new investment scams that emerged in 2023 involving fraudulent online trading platforms.

According to the report, the scammers utilize fake online and mobile trading platforms to entice potential victims into investing money. They employ social media channels, such as chat rooms and YouTube live streaming, to promote what is known as a fraudulent Home Trading System, or HTS. To hook targets, the scammers promote fictional investment success stories, falsely claiming that current clients have already earned substantial profits through their trading systems, suggesting that the same is possible for others.

The report further explains that such fake trading systems are equipped with servers capable of gathering real stock market prices from actual financial institutions. This information is then manipulated to lure targets into giving up more money. Additionally, these fake trading platforms typically feature a screen capture function which operate unbeknownst to the victims. Scammers exploit this capability to mirror victims’ screens and leak their data.

The FSI initially encountered this new scamming tactic while monitoring social media channels for clues leading to ongoing financial crimes. Their investigation uncovered more than 120 cases of fake HTS and Mobile Trading Systems (MTS) being operated by more than 20 groups since April 2023. Notably, the FSI identified two particularly active scammer groups: “Midas” and “Turtle Ship,” which have been running such schemes since July 2021.

The report underscores this scam as being part of a troubling trend in online fraud. The reason—victims often remain ignorant of having been ensnared in a scam, attributing losses to failed investments as opposed to deception. Victims often remain unaware of having been deceived until a considerable amount of time has elapsed. This delayed realization poses a significant danger as it gives the scammer significant time to exploit their targets.

In March of this year, the Seoul Eastern District Prosecutor’s Office apprehended a group involved in an investment scam utilizing a counterfeit trading platform. The group obtained approximately $6.5 million (9 billion won) from 169 victims between March 2022 and October 2023.

Kim Chul-woong, President of the FSI, emphasized the institute’s dedication to taking proactive measures to counter financial fraud. He stated, “We will continuously monitor and analyze financial fraud, swiftly sharing our findings with financial companies and relevant organizations to minimize the impact on investors.”


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  • Minkyung Shin

    Minkyung Shin serves as a reporting intern for The Readable, where she has channeled her passion for cybersecurity news. Her journey began at Dankook University in Korea, where she pursued studies in...

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