AfreecaTV Host Targeted by Cryptocurrency Scam in South Korea

    South Korean crypto scammers are now focusing their attention on the popular personalities of AfreecaTV known as broadcast jockeys (BJ).

    A man in his thirties was convicted of cryptocurrency fraud and received a five-year prison sentence from the Seoul Central District Court, according to Asia Kyungjae.

    AfreecaTV BJ Stung to Tune of $1.6m

    In South Korea, AfreecaTV reigns as the top real-time streaming platform, with its most popular BJ stars achieving celebrity status.

    Nevertheless, scammers are now using the platform as a means to entice BJ celebrities into engaging in intricate cryptocurrency scams.

    During the court proceedings, it was revealed that the unidentified scammer had taken cryptocurrency and money in more than 30 instances from a well-known celebrity and an anonymous entrepreneur.

    The con artist deceived the victims by gaining their trust through a generous donation of BJ star balloons valued at tens of millions of KRW.

    In 2017, Afreeca introduced its star balloon initiative, allowing users in South Korea to purchase and add funds to their balloon balances both online and offline. Each star balloon holds a value of approximately $0.08.

    Streamers have the option to utilise their balloons as a form of payment at various convenience stores and retail locations.

    Balloons have become a lucrative revenue stream for numerous popular AfreecaTV BJ personalities, as fans generously donate during their live broadcasts.

    During the trial, it was revealed that the fraudster manipulated his victims by receiving donations disguised as balloon gifts.

    Once the fraudster had established trust with the BJ star, they started utilising the platform’s Whisper feature to interact with the streamers.

    After listening to the livestreaming star vent about their string of unsuccessful crypto and stock market investments, the scammer set their sights on them.

    Fraudster ‘Used Fake Crypto Wallet Data to Trick Victim’

    During the court hearing, it was revealed that the fraudster posed as a specialist in cryptocurrency investments. They impressed the victims by displaying a Bitcoin wallet with a balance exceeding 3.8 million dollars.

    During the court proceedings, it was revealed that a BJ celebrity transferred $7,500 to the scammer, and then made an additional payment of $1.1 million in November 2021.

    The court was presented with evidence in January 2022 that the fraudster had shown screenshots to BJ, claiming that their investment had escalated to nearly $21 million.

    The scammer assured the nervous broadcaster by mentioning his ownership of four properties in the prestigious Gangnam District of Seoul.

    Yet, suspicions arose for the BJ when the fraudster limited the star’s access to only $75,000 of their funds.

    The court uncovered the truth behind the fraudster’s confident assertions: they were the owner of a failing public relations firm, not the successful entrepreneur they claimed to be.

    The scam artist was in debt to the tune of over $52,600 and had been employing a comparable tactic to trick a colleague in business comparably.

    The judge in charge clarified that BJ had incurred damages equivalent to the total value of their assets.

    The judge determined that the extent of the emotional and monetary harm experienced warranted a lengthy, punitive punishment.

    A little more than a year ago, a prominent security company raised concerns about an increase in fraudulent schemes related to cryptocurrency mining in South Korea.

    In the year 2023, a study revealed that a large majority of victims of crypto scams in South Korea were women, making up 71% of the total. Most of these victims were found to be under the age of 40.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    What exactly is AfreecaTV, and who are these BJ stars that captivate audiences on the platform?

    South Korea’s top live-streaming platform is AfreecaTV, where broadcast jockeys (BJs) have become famous personalities with a large following.

    Can you share details about the case of the AfreecaTV BJ star who was implicated in a cryptocurrency scam?

    A well-known performer in the adult film industry was deceived by a complex cryptocurrency scheme, resulting in a hefty financial setback of $1.6 million.

    In what way was the scammer able to establish trust with the BJ celebrity?

    By showering the BJ star with generous donations in the form of star balloons, the scammer was able to gain their trust.

    How was the cryptocurrency scam started by the fraudster?

    Once trust was established, the fraudster pretended to be a specialist in crypto investments, showing fabricated data on Bitcoin wallets and promising high returns on investments.

    How did the BJ star’s finances suffer as a result?

    The celebrity faced major financial losses after falling victim to a scam that led them to send substantial amounts of money, ultimately culminating in almost all their wealth depletion.

    What consequences did the crypto scammer face in terms of the law?

    A man in his thirties was recently convicted of cryptocurrency fraud by the Seoul Central District Court and was sentenced to five years behind bars.

    In what ways did the scammer’s plan go beyond targeting just the BJ star?

    The scammer’s repeated use of a familiar strategy to deceive a business acquaintance suggested a consistent history of fraudulent behaviour.

    Can you provide data regarding the frequency of cryptocurrency fraud in South Korea?

    A well-known security company had previously alerted about a rise in scams related to crypto mining in South Korea more than a year ago. Recent research conducted in 2023 revealed that the majority (71%) of victims of crypto scams in South Korea were women under the age of 39.

    In the eyes of the court, how serious were the damages suffered by the celebrity from BJ?

    The judge highlighted the mental and financial harm experienced by the BJ star, supporting the decision to impose a lengthy and severe sentence on the scammer.

    What steps can content creators take to protect themselves from being deceived by scams on streaming platforms?

    To avoid falling for scams, content creators should be cautious when discussing finances and sceptical of random investment opportunities, even if specific precautions are not provided.


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