- A British man lost £200,000 to local crypto scammers.
- Since lockdown began, the UK’s Metropolitan Police have reported an increase in online investment fraud.
- Crypto scams are a multimillion-dollar industry.
Nottinghamshire is the county of Robin Hood, the folk outlaw who stole from the rich to give to the poor. Nowadays, the wooded region is host to a less romantic kind of theft—a sinister cryptocurrency scam that pilfered £200,000 ($282,000) from the pockets of one local, according to the Metropolitan Police.
The victim, who does not want to be identified, was conned by the fraudsters following an online conversation in 2020. They talked him into investing his money in a fake brokerage firm, promising significant returns on Bitcoin’s bull run.
The tricksters also duped the man into giving them remote access to his computer, where they siphoned sensitive personal details to take out loans in his name. Intimidation and harassment ensued: the men even turned up to his doorstep to collect cash for “further investment,” according to the Met.
Detective Sergeant David Breach said in the police report: “Reports of investment fraud have increased significantly since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, which is unsurprising when you think the vast majority of us have had to conduct nearly every aspect of our lives on a computer or mobile phone.”
June’s crypto fraud news roundup
While this scam sounds particularly nefarious, crypto scams are commonplace and their methods are manifold.
On June 2, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak lost his court case against YouTube after scammers used his image in videos to defraud users. The Santa Clara County Court ruled that, under US Federal Law, online platforms are not responsible for user-uploaded content.
According to the US Federal Trade Commission, in the six months between October 2020 and March 2021, American consumers reported losses of $82 million to online crypto scammers. Down under, the situation looks just as bad. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reported this month that Australians paid $20.5 million in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to scammers last year.
Perhaps it’s time to reiterate the obvious: People looking to get into crypto have plenty of reputable onramps at their disposal. For the love of crypto, don’t reply to unsolicited communications from unknown senders promising digital jackpots.