Santander issues stark warning as woman loses £3,200 to scam – ’emperor’s new clothes!’

OneCoin: Cryptocurrency 'scam' discussed by expert

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Santander has said the prevalence of remote access scams, particularly those surrounding cryptocurrency, is rising – with an equivalent of £1million of fraud reported per month. The scam occurs when a customer sees an ad on social media or Google, or is introduced by someone to a cryptocurrency opportunity. In some cases, the opportunity will look like it is being endorsed by a celebrity or well-known figure.

Once a person shares their contact details, they are contacted by phone, email or social media and are often offered high returns with little risk through high pressured sales tactics.

The customer could also be told to download specialist software to support opening a cryptocurrency account, but this is remote access software which provides scammers with access to a person’s computer.

Once an account or multiple accounts are opened and money deposited in them, the customer is then unable to access their sum as the fraudster takes over and freezes the customer out of their account.

Unfortunately, one woman was sadly targeted by this. Ms C was interested in cryptocurrencies and had been following a user on Snapchat – social media – who dealt with crypto investments.

When she messaged the user asking for help, she was told where to send her money, and was advised she would have access to a known trading platform to manage her cryptoassets.

Over a period of three weeks, Ms C transferred £3,200 to two different accounts, however, she did not receive any official documentation which referenced crypto-assets or about trading.

After she received another request to transfer money to an account user a different name, Ms C became suspicious and queried the payment.

However, shortly after this, the social media account was deleted and she was unable to contact the individual any further.

When she contacted the trading platform directly, she was horrified to find there were no accounts under her name.

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Santander attempted to recover the funds for Ms C, but the bank was told all the transfers had bee spent by the recipients within one hour of the payments being made.

This kind of devastating outcome is unfortunately becoming more and more common, and Britons are being urged to stay on their guard to protect themselves. 

Chris Ainsley, Head of Fraud Control at Santander UK, said: “When it comes to investing in cryptocurrencies, what may appear as a sure bet might be more of an emperor’s new clothes situation.

“We’re seeing more and more cases, where fraudsters use complex cryptocurrency jargon, high pressured sales tactics and fake celebrity endorsements, along with the promise of significant rewards, to lull people into a false of security.

“Now more than ever, it’s so important to take the time to research where your money is going before you make a payment. If you don’t, you risk simply never seeing it again.”

Those who believe they have fallen victim to a crypto scam should report it to their bank straight away.

If a person has downloaded software to supposedly help with the investment, they should turn off and unplug their computer.

It should then not be used until the software has been removed and the machine checked by a technician. 

To protect oneself, Britons should never allow anyone to set up a cryptocurrency wallet, upload ID documents or manage investments on their behalf remotely.

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Similarly, individuals should always be cautious of investment offers made over social media or on the phone, and especially look out for celebrity endorsements, which may not always be genuine.

People should never feel pressurised into a decision, particularly if they are told about limited timescales or promised too good to be true returns.

Finally, when purchasing crypto, Britons can use the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website to look up the company to check they are a legitimate firm, not unregistered, or a clone or fake. 

A similar warning was recently issued by Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis in the most recent edition of his ITV Money Show, where he cautioned: “My face is used in more scam adverts than anybody else in the country. I don’t do adverts – so if you ever see an advert with me in it, it’s a lie.

“Scammers pick people they think you’ll trust and they put them in adverts to try and use whatever they can to get your money.

“Whenever you’re on the internet, especially social media, you have to have someone on your back whispering in your ear, ‘Is that real?’ Never click it, never do anything without checking a proper source first.”

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