AfreecaTV BJ Falls Victim to South Korean Crypto Scammer

AfreecaTV BJ (broadcast jockeys) stars have become the latest targets of increasingly sophisticated South Korean crypto scammers.

Asia Kyungjae reported that the Seoul Central District Court sentenced a “man in his thirties” to five years in prison for crypto-related fraud.

AfreecaTV BJ Stung to Tune of $1.6m

AfreecaTV is South Korea’s leading real-time streaming platform, and its biggest BJ stars have become celebrities in their own right.

However, scammers have begun trying to exploit the platform to lure BJ stars to participate in complex crypto fraud projects.

The court heard that the unnamed fraudster stole crypto and cash on “over 30 occasions” from a BJ star and an unnamed “businessman.”

The fraudster duped the victims by first winning their trust by donating the BJ “star balloons” worth “tens of millions of KRW.”

Afreeca launched its star balloon project in 2017. One star balloon is worth around $0.08, and South Koreans can top up balloon balances on- and offline to spend on the platform.

Streamers can also spend “balloons” at convenience stores and other outlets.

Many leading AfreecaTV BJ stars use balloons as a major source of income, with fans donating during livestreams.

The judge heard that the scammer used balloon donations to “win the favor” of his victims.

After gaining the BJ star’s trust, the fraudster then began to use the platform’s Whisper function to communicate with the streamers.

The fraudster targeted the livestreaming star after hearing them complain about a series of failed crypto and stock market investments.

Inside the AfreecaTV headquarters in Seongnam, South Korea. (Source: 2anatv/YouTube)

Fraudster ‘Used Fake Crypto Wallet Data to Trick Victim’

The scammer, the court heard, “pretended to be a crypto investment expert.” They showed the stars a “Bitcoin wallet balance worth over 3.8 million.” The fraudster told the star:

“If you invest as I suggest, I guarantee you returns of two to four times. And even if you lose money, I will make up for it with my own money.”

The court heard that one of the BJ stars sent the fraudster over $7,500, “followed by another payment of $1.1 million” in November 2021.

In January 2022, the court heard, the fraudster showed the BJ screenshots that “proved” their investment was now worth almost $21 million.

Streamers at an AfreecaTV Award Ceremony in 2015. (Source: ACROFAN [CC BY-SA 3.0]The fraudster also told the “anxious” broadcaster that there was no need to worry, as he owned “four houses” in the exclusive Gangnam District of Seoul.

However, the BJ became suspicious when the fraudster only agreed to let the star access $75,000 worth of their funds.

Despite the fraudster’s bold claims, the court heard that “in fact,” this individual “ran a public relations company that was on the verge of closing down.”

The fraudster had “debts exceeding $52,600,” and had also been using a similar scheme to dupe a business acquaintance in a similar manner.

The presiding judge explained that the “BJ had suffered damages effectively worth the entirety of their assets.”

The judge said that the scope of the “mental and financial damage sustained” called for a long, punitive sentence.

South Korea’s first homemade spy satellite has transmitted images of central Pyongyang, in one of its earliest missions since being launched late last year, Yonhap reported https://t.co/8OD68ZxzM2

— Bloomberg (@business) March 3, 2024

Just over a year ago, a leading domestic security provider warned of a rise in South Korean crypto mining-related scams.

A 2023 study, meanwhile, found that 71% of South Korean crypto scam victims were female – with the majority aged 39 and under.

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