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Beware of scammers promising to recover MTI bitcoin, say liquidators

MTI members are being contacted with fake offers to recover bitcoin.
Image: Bloomberg

The provisional liquidators of Mirror Trading International (MTI) have warned members to avoid being scammed a second time.

Several MTI members have been contacted by people purporting to be agents of crypto organisations, with offers to trace and recover bitcoin handed over to the failed bitcoin scheme, which was placed in provisional liquidation in December 2020 after failing to honour requests from members for withdrawals.

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Read: MTI placed in final liquidation, 8 000 more bitcoin traced

MTI members are being asked to send additional bitcoin to these so-called recovery agents.

Says joint liquidator Riaan van Rooyen: “We have information that MTI members are being contacted by people purporting to be agents with access to MTI’s database. These agents are falsely claiming they can recover bitcoin deposited by members into MTI. This is clearly yet another attempt to defraud members of the MTI. Only the provisional liquidators have access to the MTI database, and only the provisional liquidators can disburse recovered bitcoin to members.”

As Moneyweb previously reported, liquidators recovered and sold 1 281 bitcoin from Belize-based broker FX Choice, generating more than R1.1 billion for the estate. A further roughly 8 000 bitcoin have been traced and is in the process of being recovered, says van Rooyen.

MTI was declared by Chainalysis as the world’s biggest bitcoin scam in 2020, and roped in hundreds of thousands of members worldwide with promises of returns of up to 10% a month using a computerised trading algorithm. When the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) investigated, it found no evidence of a computerised algorithm, nor could it find any evidence of successful trading at all. In August last year it issued a warning against MTI and advised members of the public to ask for their bitcoin back.

FSCA investigating Mirror Trading International (Aug 2020)
Joining MTI may end in tears (Aug 2020)

Despite this warning, MTI managed to grow its membership base from roughly 60 000 to an estimated 280 000 over a period of five months through a multi-level marketing scheme that rewarded members for every new member introduced.

Read: An inside look at how MTI managed to prolong an extraordinary losing streak

Van Rooyen has warned members to accept communications relating to MTI only from the joint liquidators at

Members can download claim documents from:

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Bitcoin is not as untracable though as people might think. The blockchain is a public ledger, so the transactions are available for tracking. The scamsters have to change crypto into real money at some point so KYC should catch them if the net is cast wide enough.

There are so many opportunities for naive and ignorant people to part with their money. The gold medal at the scammer Olympics goes to this scheme in “Singapore”. They do cold calling in South Africa and they ask existing clients for leads. They pretend to invest in commodities on some international exchange. Clients see great profits on their statements and they spread the word among their friends. Everything is rosy until they want to withdraw some of the profits. Then, they have to deposit more money to pay for “taxes and duties” before the cash can be “freed up”.

The scheme keeps on swallowing money until the thought that he has been scammed slowly dawns on the investor. Then, he tries to read up about it and finds ample information about the scheme online. Various agencies offer their services and advertise their successes at retrieving money for clients, at a cost of course.

Needless to say, the second scam is part and parcel of the first scam. They defraud the same person three times. Firstly when he invests his money, secondly when he tries to realize his paper profits, and thirdly when he starts legal proceedings to retrieve his funds.

Brilliant isn’t it!

MTI customers are the perfect customers for scammers. They’ve already proven their gullibility, naivety and greed once before. That customer list must be a goldmine for scammers to fleece again.

End of comments.





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