The latest statistics from Action Fraud show that in June and July, victims reported losing £2,059,501.29 to cryptocurrency scams – an average of £10,095.59 per person. In the same period, 203 reports of this type of fraud were made to Action Fraud.
Fraudsters are cold calling victims and using social media platforms to advertise ‘get rich quick’ investments in mining and trading in cryptocurrencies.
Fraudsters will convince victims to sign up to cryptocurrency investment websites and to part with their personal details such as credit card details and driving licences to open a trading account. The victim will then make an initial minimum deposit, after which the fraudster will call them to persuade them to invest again in order to achieve a greater profit.
In some cases, victims have realised that they have been defrauded, but only after the website has been deactivated and the suspects can no longer be contacted.
In April 2018, Action Fraud alerted the public to fraudulent websites claiming to offer cryptocurrency investments using images and fabricating recommendations from prominent individuals without their consent.
Fighting cryptocurrency fraud:
As more and more people invest their money in cryptocurrencies, this surge in popularity has also given rise to more fraud in this area. In response to this and in a UK first for police training, the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Academy (ECA) has recently launched a new course on cryptocurrencies.
Developed by the ECA together with subject matter experts in the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate, the new one-day course Cryptocurrencies for Investigators is designed to give officers the skills and knowledge to recognise and manage cryptocurrencies in their investigations.
Don’t be fooled:
- Don’t assume it’s real – professional-looking websites, adverts or social media posts don’t always mean that an investment opportunity is genuine. Criminals can use the names of well-known brands or individuals to make their scams appear legitimate.
- Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision – a genuine bank or financial organisation won’t force you to part with your money on the spot. Always be wary if you’re pressured to invest quickly or promised returns that sound too good to be true.
- Stay in control – avoid uninvited investment offers, especially those over cold calls. If you’re thinking about making an investment, get independent advice and thoroughly research the company first.
If you have been affected by this, or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or by using the online reporting tool at www.actionfraud.police.uk
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