Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Debt counselors are seeing a growing number of South Africans who have lost money gambling in crypto-currencies such as bitcoin and ripple.

Some of them were victims of online scams, which resulted in their bank accounts getting raided by offshore hackers, or they were robbed by sellers who never actually delivered the digital currency after they had been paid.

In most cases, however, it was simply the vast losses they incurred as a result of extreme volatility of these currencies, according to Debt Rescue CEO Neil Roets.

"We interviewed our first crypto-currency victims towards the end of last year who wanted to go under debt review because they were no longer able to adequately service their debt," Roets said. "To my amazement, many of them had been the victims of scams involving crypto-currencies which promised massive returns.

"Some of them had gone as far as pawning their vehicles, taking out second bonds on their homes and borrowing money on credit cards to buy crypto-currencies."

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