Gloucestershire Police have issued an urgent warning to people about the dangers of cryptocurrency fraudsters after a victim, aged in their 60s, lost over £150,000 in a scam. The individual had made several transactions over a number of months after believing they were investing in cryptocurrency, and had been contacted by the perpetrators via WhatsApp.
The fraud came to light when staff at a bank in Cheltenham contacted police with concerns about the large amount of money the victim wanted to transfer to a suspicious account.
Gloucestershire Police said: “Police are warning people to remain vigilant when making investments as people can be lured into scams by social media posts or online ads. In this case, the victim was in contact with fraudsters via WhatsApp.”
Cryptocurrency is a form of digital or virtual currency designed to be used as a medium of exchange. As more people have invested in cryptocurrencies, criminals have taken advantage of the situation to commit fraud.
Action Fraud urges people to be wary of online adverts and social media posts offering high returns on investments in cryptoassets or cryptoasset-related products. If someone is contacted out of the blue about an investment opportunity, this should be treated with suspicion.
It is recommended that investors take their time to research, seek advice from trusted friends, family members or professional advice services, and use a financial advisor accredited by the Financial Conduct Authority. It is also important to remember that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
If you think you’ve been a victim of an investment fraud, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.