Crypto, forex scam reports tripled in UK in 2018: watchdog

Scams related to cryptocurrencies and foreign exchange trading more than tripled last year, the U.K. financial watchdog revealed in a press release. Despite existing media campaigns to sensitize people on the dangers of these scams, the scammers have continued to use “get rich quick” messages to lure their victims.

In the financial year 2018/2019, there were 1,834 reported cases of crypto and forex scams, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) revealed. This is triple the number of cases reported the previous financial year which stood at 530. The average loss from these scams stood at £14,600 ($18,485), translating to over £27 million ($34 million) in total losses.

Many years later, the tricks haven’t evolved, the report indicated. The scammers promise incredible returns, usually giving this return on the first investment. This convinces the victim that the opportunity is genuine and they end up investing much more. The scammers then take the money and discontinue any communication with the victim.

The scammers have also resulted to using celebrities’ images as their endorsement, usually without the celebrity’s knowledge or consent. This gives their scams more credibility in the eyes of the targeted audience. And this isn’t unique to the U.K. alone. As we reported earlier this year, in Australia, crypto scammers have also been using the doctored images of two renowned media personalities. The scammers had even doctored a video in which the two praise the opportunity, urging their fans to invest quickly before it’s too late.

The FCA committed to conduct a campaign that seeks to raise awareness on online trading scams. The campaign will focus on social media platforms and its aim will be to make the consumers more skeptical of get rich quick schemes. The FCA is also working with the City of London Police to increase awareness.

The executive director of enforcement at the FCA, Mark Steward, warned consumers to be more suspicious before investing and to contact the authority in cases of fraud.

He stated, “We’re warning the public to be suspicious of adverts which promise high returns from online trading platforms. Scammers can be very convincing so always do your own research into any firm you are considering investing with, to make sure that they are the real deal. Before investing online find out how to protect yourself from scams by visiting the ScamSmart website, and if in any doubt—don’t invest.”

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