Latest figures from Action Fraud show that in June and July, victims reported losing just over £2m cryptocurrency scams – an average of £ 10,095 per person and a total of £1m a month. During the 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.
The crooks then 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 and may make an initial profit, 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. MoneySavingExpert Martin Lewis has warned his image has been used unlawfully.
Director of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, said: “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.
“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.”
Action Fraud is the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre.