Potential victims have been warned over bogus online ‘get rich quick’ schemes as it emerged people lost more than £27million to cryptocurrency and foreign exchange scams last year.
Fraudsters promise high returns to those who invest, according to Action Fraud and the Financial Conduct Authority. Victims lost an average of £14,600 in 2018-19 and stand little chance of getting their money back. Reports of cryptocurrency and forex investment scams increased nearly 250% in 2017-18, from 530 to nearly 1,850. The scams work by criminals promoting get-rich-quick online trading platforms through social media. Posts often use fake celebrity endorsements and images of luxury items like expensive watches and cars. These then link to professional-looking websites where consumers are persuaded to invest.
Often investors are led to believe their first investment has successfully returned a profit and are then enticed to invest more money or introduce friends in return for greater profits. But the returns stop, the customer account is closed, and the scammer disappears with no further contact.