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Norfolk woman loses £180,000 in online cryptocurrency scam





A Norfolk woman has lost £180,000 after completing an online enquiry form advertising investment in cryptocurrency, prompting a vigilance warning from police.

Norfolk Police has urged residents to be aware of potential scams when choosing to invest their money online through cryptocurrency following the incident.

Officers said she was contacted by criminals who claimed they had set up a cryptocurrency trading account for her and regularly contacted her over a six-month period.

A Norfolk woman has lost £180,000 after completing an online enquiry form advertising investment in cryptocurrency, prompting a vigilance warning from police. Picture: iStock
A Norfolk woman has lost £180,000 after completing an online enquiry form advertising investment in cryptocurrency, prompting a vigilance warning from police. Picture: iStock

They built a close relationship with her and encouraged her to give them access to her phone and laptop remotely in order to transfer large sums of money at different intervals, which she believed was being invested into cryptocurrency.

The victim did not realise she had been scammed until she contacted her bank directly to check a transfer had been completed and they were concerned that she had become a victim of a scam.

This has had a huge impact on the victim’s life, who said: "My first reaction when I was told I had been scammed was feeling very frightened of my future, as the scammers left me with nothing.

“Life will never be the same and I am trying to come to terms that some people can be so ruthless. However, I will combat that feeling and go forth albeit taking a different route in life."

Officers have said it is “important to be cautious” when engaging with cryptocurrency, as criminals will often target people through social media posts and professional-looking websites.

“These online adverts will look credible and they may use fake celebrity endorsements to increase their legitimacy,” a Norfolk Police spokesperson said.

“Whilst online investments can be a great way to manage and grow your funds, we would always recommend that you take precautions before investing your funds through websites or online ads.”

Action Fraud has offered the following advice to help you protect yourself:

- Be wary of adverts online and on social media promising high returns on investments in cryptoassets or cryptoasset-related products and be suspicious if you are contacted out of the blue about an investment opportunity. This could be via a cold-call, an email or an approach on social media.

- Don’t be rushed into making an investment. No legitimate person or firm will pressure you into making an investment or committing to something on the spot. Take time to do your research.

- Most firms advertising and selling investments in cryptoassets are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This means that if you invest in certain cryptoassets you will not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme if things go wrong – so always check the FCA Register to make sure you’re dealing with an authorised firm and check the FCA Warning List of firms to avoid.

- Seek advice from trusted friends, family members or independent professional advice services before making a significant financial decision. Even genuine investment opportunities can be high risk.

- Use a financial advisor accredited by the Financial Conduct Authority. Paying for professional advice may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it will help prevent you from being scammed.

- Only use the telephone number and email address on the FCA Register, not the contact details the firm gives you and look out for subtle differences.

- Just because a company has a glossy website and glowing reviews from ‘high net worth’ investors does not mean it is genuine – fraudsters will go to great lengths to convince you they are not a scam.

- Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

If you or a friend or family member feels they may have been a victim of investment fraud, you are not alone.

You should contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud. You can do this by calling 0300 123 2040 or via the Action Fraud website here.



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