Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency designed to work as a medium of exchange.
How does this scam work?
Fraudsters will cold call victims and use social media platforms to advertise ‘get rich quick’ investments in mining and trading in cryptocurrencies.
Fraudsters will 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, 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.
How to protect yourself
• Don’t assume it’s real – professional-looking websites, adverts or social media posts don’t always mean that an investment opportunity is genuine. Criminals can use the names of well-known brands or individuals to make their scams appear legitimate.
• Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision – 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.
• Stay in control – 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.