The Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) says there are currently no authorized virtual asset service providers in Fiji.
It made the announcement while warning the public about a cryptocurrency scam in Fiji, in which the scammers had spread ads on various Viber and other social media groups using the official logo of a government agency and an employee photo.
FIU Director Razim Buksh said in a press statement that the fake ads state that individuals in Fiji could buy bitcoin, forex and binary trading using their mobile wallets or bank transfers.
The ad offers two telephone numbers for inquiries – a local number and a foreign number.
Mr Buksh said the FIU implemented regulatory controls and preventive measures to combat money laundering, so suspected fraudulent transactions by commercial banks, money transfer service providers and other financial institutions in Fiji were detected and reported to the Fiji FIU.
He said those wishing to make offshore investments, including trading cryptocurrency or other virtual assets, must obtain prior approval from the Reserve Bank of Fiji.
He added that since the offshore investment facility is currently suspended, people would be violating the Exchange Control Act if they make unauthorized offshore investments.
Meanwhile, the FIU informed the public that only Fijian currency issued by the Reserve Bank of Fiji is legal tender in Fiji, adding that there are currently no authorized virtual asset service providers in Fiji.
According to the FIU, the following are a few red flags, or indicators, that can help people tell if they’re dealing with a scammer:
1. Use of existing marketing material from government agencies or reputable entities. These are usually fake;
2. You are being asked to deposit funds into various accounts held in the name of an individual as opposed to a corporation or reputable financial institution;
3. Aggressive sellers who may provide exaggerated or false information, including guarantees that the investment will perform in a certain way;
4. No physical address can be found; and
5. Undue pressure and constant follow-up to complete the transaction quickly and threatening to lose the offer if funds are not transferred or upfront payments are made.