A new report published by the British authorities warns citizens of a noticeable increase in cryptocurrency investment scams taking place within in the country over the summer. According to national fraud and cyber crime reporting center Action Fraud, 203 incidents of fraudsters cold calling victims using social media platforms to advertise ‘get rich quick’ investments involving cryptocurrency trading and mining between June and July have cost victims £2,059,501.29 (~$2.5 million) in losses.
“It’s vital for anyone who invests or is thinking of investing in cryptocurrencies to thoroughly research the company they are choosing to invest with,” said Director of Action Fraud Pauline Smith. “The statistics show that opportunistic fraudsters are taking advantage of this market, offering investments in cryptocurrencies and using every trick in the book to defraud unsuspecting victims. If you think you have been the victim of this type of fraud, contact Action Fraud.”
Cold Calling Scams
The Action Fraud report explains that fraudsters have been tricking unsuspecting victims into signing up for fake cryptocurrency investment websites and giving up personal information such as credit card details and driver’s license information to the sites in order to open up accounts. After making an initial deposit, fraudsters often call investors and convince them to invest even more onto the platform by promising greater returns.
In most cases victims don’t realize they have been defrauded until the website disappears and they cease being pressed by scammers for more money.
Public Education to Fight Cryptocurrency Fraud
The United Kingdom is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing markets for cryptocurrency investments. So much so that many of the world’s leading crypto exchanges like Coinbase and Binance are actively working to increase their involvement in the area by acquiring UK exchange licenses and offering British Pound transaction options.
The growing market has also led to an unprecedented rise in cryptocurrency-related fraud. In response to this, UK authorities are calling for greater police and public education surrounding cryptocurrency. The City of London Police and the Economic Crime Academy (ECA) are breaking new ground in this area by launching a new course on cryptocurrencies.
Experts in the field are now running a one-day course on cryptocurrencies called the Economic Crime Directorate. The program is designed to give “officers the skills and knowledge to recognize and manage cryptocurrencies in their investigations.”
“Professional-looking websites, adverts or social media posts don’t always mean that an investment opportunity is genuine,” warns Action Fraud. “Criminals can use the names of well-known brands or individuals to make their scams appear legitimate. 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. 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.”
Action Fraud is encouraging UK citizens who have fallen victim to cyber crime to file a report with British authorities here.
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