South Korea will expand the existing law on voice phishing to include phone scams related to cryptocurrencies and the authority to recover losses incurred by victims, the Financial Services Commission, the country’s top financial regulator, said Tuesday.

See related article: S. Korean regulators to probe local crypto staking services following U.S. crackdown

Fast facts

  • South Korea plans to amend the current law so that authorities can freeze the crypto accounts of alleged offenders on exchanges when a voice phishing scam is reported, the FSC said.
  • Local authorities are currently not able to seize suspected accounts on crypto exchanges due to legal restrictions. 
  • The FSC and the ruling People Power Party will propose amendments to the local voice phishing law in April, which will allow financial institutions and crypto service providers to share account information and suspend all suspected accounts across different platforms. 
  • Voice phishing scammers often impersonate legitimate individuals or authorities to siphon off money or financial information. 
  • The FSC has said voice phishing losses involving cryptocurrencies reached about 20 billion Korean won (US$15 million) last year, or more than double the 8.26 billion won reported in 2020.

See related article: South Korea issues guideline on cryptocurrencies as securities tokens ahead of planned legalization