FCA Warns of Sharp Rise in Online Trading Scams Linked to Crypto, Forex
22 May 2019

Reports of investment scams linked to crypto-assets and foreign currency trades have nearly tripled over the past year compared to the previous 12-month period, two UK organizations said Tuesday.

Investors in the online trading schemes lost £27 million over the year, with average losses for individuals totaling £14,600, according to the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Action Fraud, the country’s national reporting center for fraud and cybercrime. UK officials received 1,834 reports of such scams over the previous 12 months—a 245-percent increase from the previous period’s total of 530.

The schemes are typically promoted on social media platforms and have included fake endorsements from celebrities, the FCA said. In many cases, criminals will inform their victims that they’ve successfully turned a profit on their initial investment in an effort to get the individuals to hand over more money.

At some point, however, the returns stop and the scammers disappear, the regulator said.

“These figures are startling and provide a stark warning that people need to be wary of fake investments on online trading platforms,” Pauline Smith, director of Fraud Action, said in a statement.

Read more:

FCA Turning to ‘Machine Learning’ Techniques to Identify Misconduct

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Virtual Assets Are Here To Stay, But Are AML Professionals Up to Speed?

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