Chris Ainsley, Head of Fraud Risk Management, Santander UK said: “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. 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. “
How the scam often works:
1. The customer sees a celebrity advertising a cryptocurrency on social media, Google, or even reputable media sites, or is introduced by another social media user to a crypto investment opportunity. The celebrity appears to be endorsing the opportunity.
2. The customer clicks on a link and shares their contact details in order to find out more.
3. They are then contacted by phone, email or social media, and offered high returns on the crypto investment with little or no risk. The fraudster will often employ high pressured sales tactics.
4. They are told to download specialist software to support them opening cryptocurrency accounts. The software is remote access software, giving the fraudster full access to the customer’s computer.
5. The customer opens (often multiple) crypto currency accounts and deposits money in them.
6. The fraudster freezes access, and takes over the customer’s account, leaving the customer unable to access their money.
What to do: If you think you’ve been the victim of a crypto scam, report it to your bank straight away. If you have downloaded software to supposedly help with the investment, turn off and unplug your computer and do not use it until you have removed the software and had it checked by a computer technician. If you think you’ve already been the victim of this type of scam, report it to your bank straight away.