After seeing his stocks lose 50 percent of their value in April, Tam of Ho Chi Minh City found a platform that promised profits of up to 600 percent.
Everything about StockX seemed professional and legitimate, and he would have never thought it could be a fraud, he said.
“This could be a lifesaver during a bear market,” he said.
The operators invited him and others to an online training session at 8 p.m. every day, and after a while offered them the “opportunity” to buy stocks at half their prices and buy and sell within a day instead of having to wait for three days as they do on the stock market.
“They also offered margin loans of 1000% while normal brokerages offer only 100%.”
Tam was able to make profits and withdraw the money without any difficulty at first, but after his holdings reached VND867 million ($37,043), the app displayed an error message when he tried to withdraw.
“An assistant told me on the phone that it would take days to fix this error, but I could deposit 10% of the value of my holdings to speed it up.”
Tam tried to contact the remaining people in the 51-member StockX Telegram group he was in, but found that some of them were not real users.
He realized he had been conned.
StockX is among several platforms being reported by hundreds of people for fraud.
The HCMC police have received over 600 complaints against the Coolcat platform which has possibly swindled hundreds of billions of dong.
BE Xchange and DK-Trade also face similar charges.
Authorities said these platforms often offer unusually high profits and intraday trading, and, when they have enough victims, interfere with their transactions to make them lose money or display error messages that prevent them from withdrawing their money.
Quoc of Da Lat has lost nearly VND13 billion in two months to one of these platforms.
The enticement of high profits persuaded him to borrow from banks, friends, family, and even loan sharks to invest only to find out that he could not withdraw the money.
“My mom and dad said they wanted to commit suicide when they found out that I have lost everything.”
With interest of VND10 million to be paid daily, Quoc has had to seek relatives’ help.
With 90 percent of non-bank loans paid, he still has to pay banks up to VND50 million a month on his VND5 billion loan.
“I will work as a Grab driver, or sell goods online. I will do anything to pay the debts.”
Vietnamese laws only allow buying and selling of stocks via exchanges, where intraday transactions are not allowed.
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