An islander has lost £1.2million after investing his life savings in fake bitcoins – despite being an experienced investor with cryptocurrencies.
The fraud marks one of the island's biggest cases in terms of a single victim and the value lost, and is now being investigated by Jersey's High Tech Crime Unit and the UK's National Crime Agency.
The investor, who has not been named in order to protect the privacy of his family, was first contacted by the fraudsters via email and telephone after he made enquiries online abut bitcoin.
He was then engaged by the criminal group, who said they were based in Norway but were operating accounts worldwide, over a period of 18 months over which a contact built up trust with the investor, promising returns of 15 times the investment and using well-known company names to convince them.
Pictured: The man lost his life savings despite being an "experienced" investor.
When further funds were requested from the investor, they justified this by telling the investor that they were due to taxes and fees imposed by foreign jurisdictions where the original money was sent.
In the end, the investor lost a total of £1.2million - his life savings.
Despite his bank being notified and asked to intervene, it later emerged that there was no way to recover the money.
Following what they described as a “huge loss” due to the "bogus bitcoin", the Jersey Fraud Prevention Forum (JFPF) have now issued an urgent warning to islanders to be “extra vigilant” when investing in cryptocurrencies or anything that seems “too good to be true and promises high returns with no risk.”
“Always get independent advice from a professional, and make sure the company you’re dealing with is legitimate,” a spokesperson said.
They’ll be providing guidance in a newsletter distributed to all island homes this week, and will also be on hand at this weekend’s Boat Show to give advice.
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