Crypto Currency Fraud

Alert message sent 10/07/2020 22:00:00

Information sent on behalf of Cheshire Constabulary


Below is a message that has been sent by Derbyshire Police, in relation to Crypto Currency. Please have a read and be aware that - if sounds too good to be true, then it more than likely is.


Cryptocurrency investment fraud involves tricking investors into using fake trading platforms. Victims are lured in with adverts on social media which promise fantastic returns which are simply too good to be true, and are convinced to send funds to the trading platform operators. In most instances the funds are sent in the form of bitcoin. To obtain this the criminals will setup accounts in the victims name on legitimate cryptocurrency exchange services. Victims will be directed to send fiat money (GBP, USD) to the exchange and the criminals in control of the account will purchase Bitcoin.
The victim will be told the bitcoin is going to be sent to the "trading platform" for investment activity. Unfortunately this is not true, the bitcoin is withdrawn directly into the criminals control. The fake trading platform is then used to manipulate the victim into believing whatever the offenders want them to believe. Ultimately this will be aimed at extorting as much money as possible from the victim. When the scam is detected by the victim they will find that they cannot withdraw any funds from the platform and have lost everything they have invested.
These scams are unfortunately on the increase and recently there have been victims targeted for a second time through false offers of money being returned after they pay a large administration fee to the fake trading platform.
The criminals behind these schemes are exploiting the current uncertainty of the financial market. They know that individuals seeking investment returns have few options and are looking for new opportunities. To lure people in scammers will often use celebrity endorsements in fake news articles/social media posts to try and convince people their fake investment platform is legitimate.
Once a potential victims has made contact the offenders bombard them with confusing technical jargon in an attempt to confuse them and persuade them into letting the trading platform representative ‘manage’ their investment account. This allows the offenders to control all aspects of the fraud.

The following is a recent victim account of how they fell for this type of scam:

“My partner had been reviewing online endorsements from Richard Branson, Gordon Ramsey and others about trading Bitcoin. They were so impressed they decided to invest £250 online with the platform in question. Shortly after this our house phone was ringing and it was someone claiming to be from the trading platform offering to manage our account.”


How to protect yourself:

Do NOT provide your identity documents! These fake trading platforms will request proof of your identity. They will tell you this is to comply with anti-money laundering regulations, however the criminals will use your details to sign up for accounts with other services in your name without your permission.

Do NOT allow anyone remote access to your computer. During communications about an investment opportunity they may say that this is necessary to download software (AnyDesk or TeamViewer) to help set up / manage account.

Don’t assume it’s real - the website is created to look professional and sometimes near identical to the real thing. And remember anyone can advertise on social media platforms and create fake reviews.

Do not trust anyone else to manage these risks for you. Stay in control & do your research – Check the relevant financial conduct authority records to see if the business is registered or if there are any warning signs.

Use the contact details on the financial conduct authority register, not the details the firm gives you.

Be cautious of bank transfers – There’s very little you can do to get your money back if you’ve made the transfer.

Spelling / grammatical errors - Legitimate organisations will rarely, if ever, make glaring spelling or grammatical mistakes.

Asked to keep it quiet? – Should be a red flag! Often asking you to stay silent is used to keep you away from the advice and support you need in making a decision.

If you are in the United Kingdom please use the details below for Action Fraud. Alternatively please contact the relevant authority in the jurisdiction to report this.

If you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud by visiting http://www.actionfraud.police.uk" target="_blank">www.actionfraud.police.uk

Message sent by
Paschal Sheeran (Police, Community Support Officer, Widnes LPU)

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