UK: Crypto-Related Fraud Leads to $2.55 Million Losses in Two Months

Francisco Memoria
  • British authorities have recently issued a warning against fraudulent cryptocurrency-related investment schemes.
  • These schemes reportedly cost Britons over $2.55 million in two months.

British authorities have recently issued a warning against cryptocurrency-related fraud, as victims reportedly lost over £2 million ($2.55 million) between June and July of this year, leading to an average loss of £10,085 ($12,000) per person.

The warning cites statistics prepared by the Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting service, which revealed how cybercriminals are tricking their victims into investing in fraudulent cryptocurrency investment schemes.

Per Action Fraud, fraudsters are cold calling victims and leveraging social media to trick victims into investing in “get rich quick” investments that are supposedly related to cryptocurrency mining and trading.

Using these techniques, fraudsters get victims to sign up to cryptocurrency investment websites and reveal their personal details, including credit card information, to open a “trading” account. After the victims make an initial deposit, fraudsters call them again to get them to invest again, citing greater profit potential.

In some cases, according to Action Fraud, victims only realized they have been scammed after the websites they were tricked into registering in no longer work, and the individuals who contacted them are unreachable.

Commenting on the fraudsters’ success, Action Fraud Director Pauline Smith stated:

It’s vital for anyone who invests or is thinking of investing in cryptocurrencies to thoroughly research the company they are choosing to invest with. The statistics show that opportunistic fraudsters are taking advantage of this market, offering investments in cryptocurrencies and using every trick in the book to defraud unsuspecting victims.

Pauline Smith

In response to an increase in cryptocurrency-related fraud, the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Academy (ECA) has reportedly created a new one-day course on cryptocurrencies called “Cryptocurrencies for Investigations,” to train officers to “recognize and manage cryptocurrencies in their investigations.”

Staying Safe

In the warning, Action Fraud added that victims shouldn’t assume these investment schemes are genuine, even if their websites look professional and the criminals use the names of well-known brands or individuals.

The fraud reporting service added that no one should be rushed into making a decision, as a legitimate bank or financial organization won’t attempt to force people to part from their money on the spot.

Action Fraud further urged those who have been victims of this type of fraud to contact it, and advised people to thoroughly research companies before putting in their money.

JPMorgan Chase Accused of Fixing Metal Prices Despite Talk of Bitcoin Market Manipulation

  • Wall Street giant JPMorgan Chase's metals desk has been accused of 'thousands' of trades related to price-fixing.
  • US prosecutors have invoked RICO laws against the bank which are reserved for organized crime rings. 

While the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and other regulatory bodies have been critical of bitcoin over market manipulation, new reports reveal that JPMorgan Chase is facing allegations of fixing prices for precious metals. 

JPMorgan Chase Price-Fixing

According to a report by Bloomberg on Sept. 16, U.S. prosecutors have invoked the racketeering law (RICO) against JPMorgan Chase’s metals desk, which is being described as a criminal enterprise. For nearly a decade, employees of the trading desk have allegedly engaged in thousands of illegal moves to price-fix precious metals and defraud market investors. 

Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski told journalists, 

Based on the fact that it was conduct that was widespread on the desk, it was engaged in in thousands of episodes over an eight-year period -- that it is precisely the kind of conduct that the RICO statute is meant to punish.

RICO is typically reserved for only the most severe, organized crime rings, with former prosecutors calling it a bold move by the Justice Department against the bank. Prosecutors claim that more than a dozen employees participated in the scheme, with two having already pleaded guilty and cooperating with authorities. 

Crypto supporters have been quick to point out the irony in JPMorgan’s situation. Jamie Dimon, CEO of the Wall Street bank, has been one of the most vocal detractors of bitcoin over the years, famously calling the crypto-asset a “fraud” in Sept. 2017.

 

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