Raising awareness of cryptocurrency investment fraud
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Cryptocurrency investment fraud is a type of criminality where investors are tricked into using fake cryptocurrency trading platforms and it is unfortunately on the rise.
Victims are lured in with adverts on social media which promise fantastic gains and are convinced to send substantial funds to the trading platform operators.
Unbeknownst to victims, their investment funds are directly benefiting fraudsters who use the trading site as a guise to convince them that they have lost all of their money through bad trades.
We have also recently had instances of victims being re-targeted by fake trading platforms who wish to trick them into buying Bitcoin.
Fraudsters are exploiting the current uncertainty of the financial market to offer seemingly fantastic investment returns which appear too good to be true. They often use celebrity endorsements in fake news articles to try and convince people the investment is legitimate.
Victims are bombarded with confusing technical jargon as scammers exploit a lack of knowledge on a technical subject, such as cryptocurrency, to persuade people into letting the trading platform ‘manage’ their account for them.
The following is an account of how someone recently fell victim to this type of scam:
“My partner had been reviewing online endorsements from Richard Branson, Gordon Ramsey and others about trading Bitcoin. They were so impressed they decided to invest £250 online with the platform in question. Shortly after this our house phone was ringing and it was someone claiming to be from the trading platform offering to manage our account.”
There are a number of ways in which trading platforms will attempt to contact potential victims, these include:
- Calls, text messages, emails, WhatsApp, Facebook messenger and so on.
Offenders will claim to be a representative from a trading platform and build relationships with you over a period of time to instil trust
- Fake news articles on social media or phishing emails (that may even appear to be from people you know – their accounts could have been compromised).
How to protect yourself:
- Do NOT provide your identity documents.
These fake trading platforms will request proof of your identity. They will tell you this is to comply with anti-money laundering regulations, however the criminals will use your details to sign up for accounts with other services in your name without your permission.
- DO NOT allow anyone remote access to your computer.
During communications about an investment opportunity they may say that this is necessary to download software (AnyDesk or TeamViewer) to help set up / manage account.
- Don’t assume it’s real.
The website is created to look professional and sometimes near identical to the real thing. And remember anyone can advertise on social media platforms and create fake reviews.
- Do not trust anyone else to manage these risks for you. Stay in control & do your research. Check the Financial Conduct Authority website to see if the business is registered or if there are any warning
- Use the contact details on the register, not the details the firm gives you.
- Be cautious of bank transfers.
There’s very little you can do to get your money back if you’ve made the transfer.
- Be mindful of spelling and grammatical errors
Legitimate organisations will rarely, if ever, make glaring spelling or grammatical mistakes.
- Asked to keep it quiet?
This is a red flag. Requesting you to stay silent is a method of ensuring that you don’t seek appropriate advice and support before making a decision.
If you think you may already be a victim report it to your bank immediately and contact Action fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online https://reporting.actionfraud.police.uk/login