US regulator lures crypto fools with fake ICO site
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has created a fake website to warn people about the dangers of initial coin offerings (ICO).
According to the SEC, the site, called HoweyCoins, mimics a bogus coin offering to educate investors about what to look for before they invest in a scam.
Anyone who clicks on “Buy Coins Now” will be led instead to investor education tools and tips from the SEC and other financial regulators.
The site looks pretty convincing. It offers the chance to download a white paper, an investment ladder, a “meet the team” section and testimonials.
This is not the first effort by the SEC. To its credit it has been doing a lot to stop crypto scams.
In April, it charged the three owners of Centra Tech, Sam Sharma, Robert Farkas and Raymond Trapani, with fraud.
Centra raised $32 million last year for a cryptocurrency debit card via an ICO, which was endorsed by boxer Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled.
While back in January, the SEC obtained a court order halting an allegedly fraudulent ICO that targeted retail investors to fund what it claimed to be the world’s first “decentralised bank”.
According to the SEC’s complaint, filed in the federal district court in Dallas, AriseBank (based in the same city) used social media, a celebrity endorsement, and other “wide dissemination tactics” to raise what it claims to be $600 million of its $1 billion goal in just two months.