The scammer had walked away with the money. Worse still, they attempted to extract more money from the victim, suggesting he pay a fee to cover taxes due before they could send the proceeds to his bank account.
Explaining what was already clear, that the money was lost, is never easy. But it is vital to be unequivocal when it comes to the outcome of this sort of scam.
I’ve been vocal on social media in recent years about the dangers of cryptocurrencies.
Regardless of any underlying use case, the crypto market is a scammer’s paradise. Combining a heady mix of zero regulation, decentralised recording, and the ‘get rich quick’ mentality that comes with significant price volatility, it is little surprise that so many fraudsters flock to Bitcoin and other tokens to hunt for their victims.
I feel sorry for the victims of investment scams. They are victims, after all. Anyone can fall for one of these scams.
Only recently, I was very nearly taken in by a cold call from someone claiming to be from my insurer, using a compelling script to sucker me in for a personal injury claim. It was only when I explained my car was unoccupied when it was hit, and the caller hung up abruptly, that I realised I had fallen for the scam and then quickly considered what personal information I had unwittingly shared.
While nobody can claim to be scam proof, we can become a lot more resilient against scammers by improving our financial education and awareness levels. The basic principle that, ‘if something looks too good to be true, it probably is’ should be taught in schools and reinforced by regular official communications. It’s a simple yet effective approach to scam proofing yourself.
Yet, as we watch in a bewildered state the number of newer investors who are being suckered into speculating on cryptocurrencies with no intrinsic value, no doubt lining the pockets of those who pump and dump various coins, I have to wonder whether we stand a fighting chance in the war against investment scams.
For a new generation of investors who are not prepared to commit to the hard work and patience required to build sustainable wealth, the allure of overnight riches will always make them vulnerable to scammers.
Regardless of how many times we explain something is ultimately a scam or a bubble, it’s hard to compete with images of faux wealth on Instagram or bogus returns on TikTok.