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On January 17, 2023, the following report was filed with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) by a person from Michigan, USA who claims losing $114,390 for an elaborate CryptoCurrency scam. He writes:
I started working with a person in September 2022 about Bitcoin and she stated she could help me with making money in Bitcoin (Cryptocurrency). During our conversations The three apps on the phone we worked in were:
• Crypto.com- Exchange app
• Monex-Crypto Trading takes place here
We did 3 second(s), 60s and 90s trades. I invested $49,500 and came up with $524,457 profit while trading in Crypto with this person’s help.
When we started to withdraw the profit that I earned, I learned the money was frozen and it couldn’t be withdrawn.
So, Romex customer service stated “Hello, due to the large amount of your withdrawal, the system has detected that your account is at risk, and your assets have been frozen to ensure the safety of your funds.
You need to pay a guarantee fund of 8% of the account fund, and the guarantee fund will be included in the account, and provide a personal ID, a handwritten guaranteed letter and take a video to read it aloud.
If you need to unfreeze, the funds can be traded or withdrawn after verification.”
I was told I had to pay $42,385 out of my pocket to unfreeze the funds which will be added back to the profit. So, I got $22,385 and ask the person helping me to fund the other $20k which she did.
Then later Romex customer support states “Dear: users, based on your profits, your tax rate is 22%.
The total amount of your account is: $577,826 and the tax-free funds are. 53,369 (the sum of your deposits and risk margin is the tax-free funds available for personal income tax).
Your total profit on the Monex-Crypto exchange is: $524,457. Profit (524,457) multiplied by your tax rate (22%) = $115,380.
Your personal income tax is $115,380. Taxes are collected on behalf of the Monex-Crypto exchange and forwarded to the IRS, and you are not required to file a tax return for your cryptocurrency profits on your annual tax return so I need to pay $61,021 out of my pocket before I can withdraw my profits and I have to provide my driver’s license.
Romex threaten me that they would fine me 0.01% if the tax was not paid in the timeframe, they gave me. So, I gather these funds and send to Romex so I can start my profit withdrawal.
Then I get another message from Romex which states “Romex Customer Service: I’m very sorry, your tax bracket has changed. You can’t pay taxes according to the 22% tax bracket. The tax man made a mistake in calculating the tax for you according to your original tax bracket.
Your correct tax bracket is 34.5%. Now you need to make up the remaining 12.5% tax before you can withdraw your profits. Romex Customer Service: So, you still need to pay $65,557 in taxes on your profits.”
I contacted my financial advisors for advice and they feel I have been scammed up to this point. I looked up the area code (332) for Romex Customer Service and couldn’t find a country with this area code either.
He mentions the following phone number belonging to the scammers: (332) 733-9058. Area code 332 serves Manhattan in New York City, NY, USA.
To summarize this report, the complainer began working with someone in September 2022 about Bitcoin and claims to have been promised help in making money through cryptocurrency trading. They used three apps, Crypto.com, Monex, and Authenticator, to conduct trades and invested $49,500, ultimately earning a profit of $524,457.
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However, when they attempted to withdraw their profits, they were told they needed to pay a “guarantee fund” of 8% of the account, or $42,385, to unfreeze the funds. They were also informed they owed a 22% tax on their profits, or $115,380, which they paid.
However, they were later informed that their tax bracket was actually 34.5% and they owed an additional $65,557 in taxes.
They were also threatened with a fine if the taxes were not paid within a certain timeframe.
We know that Crypto.com and an Authenticator apps are probably not the scammers in this situation. This leaves Romex, which the complainer also calls Monex.
We’re not sure which website he is referring to but we have two guesses:
First, we find a very suspicious website called MonexCrypto.
It can be found at monexcrypto.co, monexcrypto.net, and in the past possibly also at moneycrypto.me.
All three domain names were registered through GoDaddy.com, LLC in 2022 for one year. They all use Cloudflare nameservers and Domains By Proxy, LLC as a privacy service to hide their owners’ identities.
Monex Group, a large online financial organization that runs retail online brokerages in Japan, the United States, China (including Hong Kong), and Australia, as well as providing asset management, investor education, M&A advising, international FX, and cryptocurrency exchange services, has posted a warning regarding these fake domains.
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It’s also possible the complainer was referring to Romex Capital, a website found at romexcapital.com, which offers Forex trading (foreign exchange), Binary options trading, Cryptocurrency trading, Retirement income planning, Real estate investment, Oil and gas drilling, Stock trading, Commodities trading, and Digital assets management.
While Romex Capital deserves a review of its own, there are indications that it should probably not be trusted. For example, its About Us page contains text that can also be found at other, similar looking websites, such as:
Please stay away and do not invest with MonexCrypto or Romex Capital, especially when you’re asked to by someone you meet online, even if you think they are your friend.
If you have any doubts or if you want to share report having been scammed, you are welcome to contact us by leaving a comment below.
And if you have lost a significant amount of money to online scams, do not lose hope. We can help you recover your funds!