The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), Securities Division has received a complaint from a Washington resident regarding Hartycoin.com, a website claiming to be a cryptocurrency trading platform. The website lists various crypto market trends and potential returns.
How the Fraud Works
The investor met a stranger online who worked for HartyCoin. The individual claimed to gift them free Bitcoin cryptocurrency for them to trade on the platform. Within days of the investor’s initial investment, the investor’s Hartycoin account purportedly grew to over $800,000 in profit. But when the investor requested to withdraw funds from their Hartycoin account, the platform demanded the investor pay various fees. The fees were not previously disclosed on the Hartycoin website or to the investor. Even after paying the fees, the investor was still unable to withdraw the profits from their Hartycoin account. These allegations have not been verified by DFI.
This appears to be what is commonly called “Advance Fee Fraud”, which can take many forms.
This complaint contained several other red flags indicating fraud (which have also not been verified by DFI), including:
- The investor was threatened with loss of all profits if they did not pay the fees.
- The Hartycoin website contains similar text and styling to that of other trading platforms (CoinExchan.com and Coinsked.com) indicating the use of a template.
- Hartycoin’s parent company, Mek Global Limited, has been alleged by another regulatory agency to be engaging in the unregistered sale of securities through the app KuCoin. See: statement of allegations.
How to Protect Yourself from Fraud
DFI urges consumers to exercise extreme caution before responding to any solicitation offering investment or financial services. Investment professionals need to be licensed with DFI to offer investments to Washington residents. In addition, most investment products sold need to be registered with DFI.
To check the licensing status and to find out if there are any complaints against an investment professional or investment product, please visit FINRA Brokercheck or contact the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions, Securities Division at (360) 902-8760.
If you live outside of Washington State, contact your state securities regulator.
How to File a Complaint
If a consumer believes a person or company has violated state law or acted improperly regarding an investment product or service, they may file a complaint with the Securities Division.