Islanders have lost more than £600,000 to online cryptocurrency investment frauds, according to Police - with one family losing more than £200,000.
Officers say an increasing number of islanders have been lured in to online cryptocurrency investment frauds with the false promise of high returns.
Scammers have been seen to use adverts, sometimes using celebrity imposter accounts to endorse on social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram to entice users to sign up.
The scam will start off with friendly telephone calls, WhatsApp messages and emails, providing authentic documentation and promising high returns on investments with little to no risk.
This is followed by high pressure tactics to convince the users to deposit funds into the fake schemes.
One of the most recent cases the Jersey Financial Crime Unit dealt with involved a family losing their life savings of around £200,000.
Pictured: One family lost their life savings to a scam cryptocurrency investment platform.
After providing details online, the scammer contacted the victim impersonating a financial adviser and offered high returns if they invested in the cryptocurrency.
The scammer then registered them on a legitimate cryptocurrency exchange platform and the victim was encouraged to place their funds into a cryptocurrency wallet as they were told that their money would double.
When it came to withdrawing their funds that had supposedly doubled, they were told they needed to pay fees and charges and were threatened with legal proceedings. The victims were continually pressured by the scammers to invest more money and encouraged them to borrow money from friends and family and to take out personal loans.
The funds were dispersed and are unlikely to ever be recovered.
Financial Investigator Faith Shalamon said: “These scammers are heartless, they don’t care about their victims at all. They target all sectors of society and encourage people to invest life savings in high-risk products without understanding the risks involved.
"They will often discourage their victims from seeking the advice of a third-party before investing. They ruin lives and we don’t want anyone else to get caught out by them.”
1. Be wary of adverts online and on social media promising high returns on investments in crypto assets or crypto asset-related products and be suspicious if you are contacted out the blue about an investment opportunity.
2. Don’t be rushed into making an investment. No legitimate person or firm will pressure you into making an investment or committing to something on the spot.
3. Always be suspicious of hard-to-understand pitches that accompany promises of outsized returns. Sometimes the language will include typographical errors like spelling and grammar, usually a red flag that the person sending it is not a professional.
4. Always check the FCA Register online to make sure you’re dealing with an authorised firm and check the FCA Warning List of firms to avoid. Only use the telephone number and email address on the FCA Register, not the contact details the firm gives you and look out for subtle differences.
5. Seek advice from trusted friends, family members or independent professional advice services before making a significant financial decision. Even genuine investment opportunities can be high risk.
6. Use a financial advisor. Paying for professional advice may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it will help prevent you from being scammed.
7. Just because a company has a glossy website and glowing reviews from ‘high net worth’ investors does not mean it is genuine – fraudsters will go to great lengths to convince you they are not a scam.
8. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
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