The United Kingdom has suffered from one of the most common crimes associated with cryptocurrency growth, having lost £2 million to hackers. A project embarked by the United Kingdom police unit called ActionFraud revealed that hackers used deceptive means to lure people into their trap. On April 11, the ActionFraud group issued a warning to the general public about mouth-watery cryptocurrency projects advertised on the various social media which were meant to win their trust and take advantage of them. According to them, the £2 million was stolen within a span of months.
In the report, it was stated that an average amount of £11,000 was stolen from UK citizens through fraudulent mining and cryptocurrency schemes. The tendency of the cryptocurrency to make people rich overnight has been perfectly used as a gateway to defraud people. Besides the popular means of advertising fake mining projects, hackers have another plan of installing malwares to illegally run on a victim’s computer. According to the police, the estimated monetary loss from these activities was deduced from the 203 cryptocurrency related fraud cases recorded. It is no wonder that ICOs and other cryptocurrency projects have been marked as high risk investments. In fact, this has contributed to cybercrime outshining traditional crimes in the UK.
The ActionFraud project explained that hackers normally set up fake accounts and profiles on the various social media and present themselves as cryptocurrency entrepreneurs and blockchain developers. After convincing people to sign up on their websites with their credit card information and other sensitive data, they then persuade them to make deposits and wait for a higher return in the future. In some cases, the victims are called to top up their deposit in other to stand a chance of making it big. Without warning, the websites vanish within the wink of an eye.
ActionFraud director, Pauline Smith explained that fraudsters are really determined to make use of any available method to steal from people. In the light of this, individuals and companies should make a thorough research on the kind of company they intend to invest in. The UK Financial Conduct Authority also issued a warning to people about cryptocurrency fraudulent trading platforms such as the duplicate firm Fair Oaks Crypto. People have been called to stand on their guard since cyber criminals are more determined to employ every trick in their book to defraud cryptocurrency enthusiasts.
As part of the measures to help prevent further loses, the ActionFraud project group advised that professionally looking websites should not be assumed as real. They advised that people should not be quick to invest by just measuring legibility with the way a website looks, the brand name appears, or the number of people on board and how the project is being advertised. Scammers do not hesitate to strike by presenting all these features as bait. Anything can be faked on the internet.
Investors or individuals planning to invest alt-coin related projects have been advised not to be quick in making investment decisions. According to them, a legit financial institution does not use force and pressure to get people to invest. Any project that offers a return which is too good to be true should be suspect.
The £2 million stolen between June and July 2018 was a result of the lack of such information. Also, people have been advised to stay in control by avoiding uninvited investment projects. In the case of an investment decision, independent advice should be obtained, and a background check about the company should not be ignored. In most cases, there are many websites online that provide a complete review of all investment companies, and this can be helpful in decision making.
Other than the awareness raised on these fraudulent schemes, the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Academy has also engaged in a one day course on cryptocurrency. This course intended to equip the police officers with the identification of cryptocurrency schemes and how to deal with them.
Even though individuals are mostly the targets, institutions are also not safe, and they are advised to invest in cyber security and should be careful with the kind of links they click on, and the kind of projects they engage in. The activities of ActionFraud recently led to the arrest of a British professional hacker who has been lined up for a jail sentence.