According to NordVPN, crypto criminals have seen their profits almost double over the last year to £226 million between them. Fraudsters are capitalising on the growing excitement around cryptocurrency, by asking people to move money and offering fake investments.
In 2022, these criminals have already taken £118 million from vulnerable victims, pocketing an average of £36,250 per fraud.
Marijus Briedis, chief technology officer and digital privacy expert at NordVPN commented on the rise in crytocurrency fraud.
He said: “With inflation skyrocketing and traditional savings rates failing to keep up, bogus crypto investment schemes offering the prospect for high returns are the perfect bait for scammers.
“These frauds are thriving, despite the huge crash in Bitcoin and other currencies.
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“Worryingly the clear rise in the amounts stolen per fraud shows the scammers are getting better at fleecing their victims.”
To help stop people falling victims to these scams, HSBC have issued guidance on what to look out for before investing in any cryptocurrency.
Before making any investment, people should always research the company and check they’re regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
On their website, they explain that to stay safe, Britons need to stay in control.
“Fraudsters know payments for investments may attract more scrutiny and will try to avoid it.
“Don’t fall for it. Fraudsters will use fake endorsements.
“Fraudsters may impersonate famous people on social media or messaging groups, to make their offer look legitimate.”
People should not feel pressured – by anyone they are sending money to.
High value cases even give a return in the short term, to convince people to invest more. Then, after larger payments are sent, the victim suffers even greater losses.
Cryptocurrencies are not regulated by the FCA meaning criminals have almost free rein to commit fraud with bogus investments.
Scammers will send out emails encouraging investors to click on a link or download an app which allows victims to access an exciting new fund.
However, by clicking this link or downloading an app, all of one’s personal information on the device can be stolen, used to extract money, or sold to the highest bidder on the dark web.
Britons are urged to “always be suspicious” when it comes to anything to do with money.
People should never trust a random link or a new crypto coin without doing their homework, even if it appears official.