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Online cryptocurrency investment scam warning across York and North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire Police

North Yorkshire Police’s Head of Economic Crime has urged residents to be extra vigilant following a recent spike in online cryptocurrency investment scams.

During the past month (May 2024), Action Fraud data has shown a total of more than £105,000 has been stolen from 15 people residing in our area.

They have each fallen victim to Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency scams where they have agreed to pay advance fees on the promise of receiving something valuable in return.

In some cases, there have been a series of further fees demanded or the fraudster will simply disappear – leaving victims thousands of pounds out of pocket.

Detective Inspector Janine MitchellHead of Economic Crime, has urged residents to remain vigilant to the scammers and take great care before thinking about investing in cryptocurrency investment schemes advertised online.

DI Mitchell said: “This is clearly a very worrying trend and the crimes are having a deep impact on the victims who are mostly aged in their 30s, 40s and 50s. 

“They feel like they have been suckered in and that they should have known better than to fall into such a trap, but that’s entirely down to the persuasive tactics used by the scammers. 

“Please don’t ever feel pressured into anything that you are not sure of and always remember the wise old saying, ‘if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is’.

“If you want to make investments, we urge you to follow the Action Fraud ‘Take Five to Stop Fraud’ advice to help protect you and your money.”


Take Five to Stop Fraud advice

  • STOP: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe
  • CHALLENGE: Could it be fake? It’s OK to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you
  • PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud


How to spot the signs and protect yourself

  • Before deciding to invest, always do your research and do not let anyone rush you. Only criminals will put pressure on you to make a quick decision. Stop, take time to think and consult trusted friends and family members before parting with your money
  • Be cautious if you are asked to change money into cryptocurrency to invest or make a payment via cryptocurrency. This is often a tactic used by fraudsters
  • Be aware that some investment opportunity approaches can come via social media. Always undertake additional research to check the validity of such an opportunity
  • Fraudsters have been known to hack social media accounts to promote bogus investments. If you are making an investment based on a recommendation from a friend or family member sent via social media, check that this has been sent by them
  • Scammers will often create professional looking websites and utilise fake business premise locations to give an impression of legitimacy
  • Never let anyone take control of your phone or computer for any reason. A reputable business would never do this
  • Check on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website fca.org.uk to see if an investment business is authorised by them


Making a report

If you think you have been a victim of fraud you should report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre, by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or calling 0300 123 2040.

It is important to report all fraud-related incidents to Action Fraud to help build a national picture and help prevent others falling victim to scams.

More from Latest News & Appeals from North Yorkshire Police

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