At Just One Bank, $1.4M Lost to Crypto Fraud a Month
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At Just One Bank, $1.4M Lost to Crypto Fraud a Month

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1 year ago

"We're seeing more and more cases, where fraudsters use complex cryptocurrency jargon, high pressured sales tactics and fake celebrity endorsements," Santander says.

At Just One Bank, $1.4M Lost to Crypto Fraud a Month

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A British bank says it has seen a surge in crypto scams — with an average of $1.37 million lost every month.
Santander has been dealing with an average of 88 cases every month so far in 2021, and the amount of funds being lost has risen by 25% since April.

Many of the scams appear to follow a similar pattern.

Unsuspecting customers first see an ad on social media or Google that offers a crypto investment opportunity — and it may be endorsed by a celebrity.

They then share their details and are contacted by someone who offers high returns on a crypto investment with little or no risk. Heartbreakingly, this may include the use of high-pressure sale tactics — encouraging them to make a snap decision.

From here, they are asked to download specialist software. While the victim is told that this is to help them open crypto accounts, it’s actually a malicious tool that allows fraudsters to operate their computer remotely.

Once the victim has opened accounts at exchanges and deposited funds, the scammers take over access — freezing them out of the trading platforms.

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How to Protect Yourself

One woman who fell victim to this scam is named Ms C — and over three weeks, she transferred $4,400 to two different crypto exchange accounts after being told they were under her name.

She had been communicating with the scammer over Snapchat, and as soon as she became suspicious, this account was deleted.

When she tried to gain access to the crypto exchange accounts by contacting the trading platforms directly, she was told that they had no accounts under her name.

All of the funds she transferred had been spent in the space of an hour, meaning there was nothing that could be done to retrieve the funds.

Santander’s head of fraud control, Chris Ainsley, 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 sense 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.” 

To compound the problem, it’s increasingly common for celebrities to endorse cryptocurrencies — with NFL star Aaron Rodgers, A-list singer Mariah Carey and Kim Kardashian among those who have launched promotions on their official social media profiles recently.

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