'Be on high alert': How to spot a cryptocurrency phone scam – 'be wary of cold calls'


Criminals advertise schemes promising high returns. These ads may look official and include celebrity endorsements or personal testimonies. More often than not, the celebrities won’t even know their name or photograph has been used. Criminals will put ads on social media, criminals try to lure you in with ads offering easy money quickly. They do this to obtain your money or personal information.

If it’s your personal information, this will then be sold to other criminals, so they can contact you with similar offers to try and take your money.

Fraudsters will convince victims to sign up to cryptocurrency investment websites and to part with their personal information such as credit card details and driving licences to open a trading account.

The victim will then make an initial minimum deposit, after which the fraudster will call them to persuade them to invest again to achieve a greater profit.

In some cases, people have realised that they have been a victim of fraud, but only after the website has been deactivated and the criminal can’t be contacted.

READ MORE: ‘Don’t click!’: Urgent parcel scam warning and the best bank account for scam prevention

Criminals benefit from the confusion and the up and down nature of the cryptocurrency markets, pressuring people into parting with their money, and pretending they are buying in at just the right time.

Some people who have been scammed don’t realise for some time. You might make loads of payments to the criminals and only realise when you try to take your money out of the ‘scheme’.

If something goes wrong with a cryptocurrency investment you are unlikely to get your money back, because they mostly aren’t covered by the UK’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Top tips to spot a cryptocurrency scam

Don’t assume an investment is real

Professional-looking websites, ads or social media posts don’t always mean that an investment is real.

Criminals can use the names of well-known brands or individuals to make their investment look real, genuine and like it’s going to make a lot of money.

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Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision

A genuine organisation won’t force you to part with your money immediately. Always be on high alert if you’re asked to invest quickly or promised something that sounds too good to be true.

Be wary of cold calls. If you’re thinking about making an investment, get independent advice and thoroughly research the company first.

How do you spot a cryptocurrency scam

They could be social media ads, sometimes endorsed by public figures or celebrities, usually offering too good to be true offers and massive returns on your investments

You are cold contacted out of the blue on the phone, email or social media

The sales pitch could be aggressive or making you feel like you need to invest now or you will lose this amazing opportunity to make big returns

There will usually be a time pressure to buy quickly, or you may miss out. This is done to give you less time to think about your decision.

Answering your scam questions


I have responded to an ad I received on social media, offering me amazing returns on what feels like a small amount of money. I immediately sent them the money as I wanted to ensure I got in on the investment early. I now think it may be too good to be true as I haven’t heard from the company in over three weeks. What should I do?


If you believe you’ve fallen for a scam, contact your bank immediately on a number you know to be correct, such as the one listed on your statement, their website or on the back of your credit or debit card.

Report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via actionfraud.police.uk. If you are in Scotland, please report to Police Scotland directly by calling 101 or Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000.

STOP others being a cybercrime victim by reporting scams and suspicious emails. Forward the scam email to [email protected] Use Rightly to stop fraudsters sharing your data exposing you to scams.

Tip of the week

To learn more and to join the fight against scams do the free training on www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk.

The more we talk about scams the more we take away the shame.


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