Nottinghamshire man loses £200,000 through Bitcoin investment scam
Police are warning the community to be vigilant to the devastating impact of investment fraud after a Nottinghamshire resident lost £200,000 through a Bitcoin scam.
The man, who does not want to be identified, fell victim of the scam following an conversation on investing money into a fake brokerage firm and invested his hard-earned cash online throughout 2020. He was told by fraudsters that the price of Bitcoin was due to skyrocket and that he could make a lot of money by investing online.
Fraudsters duped him into allowing them to access his computer remotely, and then gathered sensitive private information, which enabled them to take out large loans in his name.
He was threatened and harassed hundreds of times to continue to invest. On one occasion two men even visited his house to collect cash to invest further into the scam.
Detectives within the economic and cyber crime department at the force are continuing to investigate as they try to track the offenders down.
Detective Sergeant David Beach, of the force's fraud triage team, said it was heart-wrenching to hear another victim losing such a significant amount.
He said: "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.
“Being online more means criminals have a greater opportunity to approach unsuspecting victims with their scams.
"We would encourage anyone thinking about making an investment to do their research first. Go online check and double check every detail before handing over your money or personal details.
"Fraudsters present professional and credible looking online adverts, send emails, and create websites to advertise fake investment opportunities in cryptocurrency, foreign exchange trading and bonds.
"Often, fake testimonials are accompanied with a picture of a well-known figure to help the investment seem legitimate.
"We would encourage you all to be naturally suspicious if you are contacted out the blue for an investment opportunity. This could be via a cold-call, an e-mail or an approach on social media.
"Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
There are many different types of investment fraud.
They usually involve criminals contacting people out of the blue and convincing them to invest in schemes or products that are worthless or do not exist.
Once the criminals have received payment, they cease contact with the victim.
The warning from the force follows a national campaign led by Action Fraud which urged people to stop and think before parting with money, challenge the criminals and to report it immediately if they think they have fallen victim to a scam.
A spokesperson for Action Fraud said: “We understand that falling victim to a fraud can have devastating consequences on victims, and not just financially. It’s vital for anyone thinking about making an investment to research the individual or company they’re investing with first. When investing any amount of money, don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision quickly.
“You should always seek independent professional advice before making a decision. Use the Financial Conduct Authority’s register to check if the company or individual is regulated by the authority. If you deal with a firm or individual that isn’t regular regulated, you may not be covered if things go wrong.”