A major bank has witnessed a “worrying” surge in reports about cryptocurrency scams which falsely claim to be endorsed by celebrities.
In the first quarter of this year, Santander UK said on average, people lost £11,872 (RM63,333) to this type of scam.
Santander UK is expecting to see an 87% increase in volume of cases in 2022, compared with 2021 based on the current growth in these frauds.
“We’re seeing a worrying rise in ‘celebrity-endorsed’ cryptocurrency scams, where familiar faces are being misused on social media in order to con people out of often life-changing sums of money” said Chris Ainsley, head of fraud risk management, Santander UK.
“Rather than revelling in the promised high returns, people are losing significant sums after being duped by these highly sophisticated criminals.”
“Always do your homework and thoroughly research any investment opportunity before moving any money – irrespective of who is endorsing it.”
Anyone who has been the victim of a crypto scam should report it to their bank immediately, said Santander.
They should turn off, unplug their computer and not use it until the software has been removed and had it checked by a computer technician, if they have downloaded software to supposedly help with the investment.
The bank is reminding people that it does not mean it is a genuine endorsement or a legitimate investment, just because an investment relating to cryptocurrency appears to be endorsed by a celebrity.
People should avoid uninvited investment offers, whether made on social media or over the phone.
Besides that, they should also use the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website to look up the company and check they are a legitimate registered firm and whether or not unregistered, a clone or fake company.
The FCA has ScamSmart (www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart) an online tool to help identify whether an investment is a scam.