UK authorities report crypto-related fraud is on the rise

UK authorities report crypto-related fraud is on the rise

By Sam Grant - min read
Updated 23 January 2023

The sum of money lost in reported incidents of crypto fraud so far has increased by 30% compared to last year’s figures

The first nine months have seen a surge in crypto fraud incidents in the UK according to a Bloomberg report. More than £146 million ($201 million) was lost to crypto fraud between January and October with the majority of the victims being young people. The City of London Police revealed that a total of 7,118 reports of cryptocurrency-related fraud had been brought forward.

Addressing the matter, the Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Craig Mullish noted that the rising number of crypto fraud cases was not entirely unexpected.

“Reports of cryptocurrency fraud have increased significantly over the past few years. Being online more means criminals have a greater opportunity to approach unsuspecting victims with fraudulent investment opportunities.”

The local police authority cautioned against rushing into opportunities endorsed by celebrities as most fraudsters create fake endorsements to beguile unsuspecting victims. The warning is backed by statistics as nearly four-fifths of the submitted complaints on fake endorsements in the UK revolve around cryptocurrency.

More than 50% of the victims of crypto fraud are aged between 18 and 45. This is not surprising considering the younger population makes up the majority of people investing in cryptocurrency.

A July poll run by the market research and insight agency Opinium established that half of Britons between 18 and 29 considered cryptocurrencies as their first investment. Specifically, the survey findings showed that young Britons highly considered Bitcoin and Dogecoin as the best cryptocurrencies to invest in at the time.

Around the same time, the retail and commercial bank NatWest urged its users to be aware of fraud and scam threats in the crypto industry. David Lindberg, the bank’s chief executive, particularly warned about fake cryptocurrency platforms created to steal from people who invest unknowingly. Lindberg additionally labelled the UK crypto market as a hotbed for crypto scammers.

“Fraud and scams are an industry. They’re intelligent, and they move fast, and it’s heartbreaking to see how they try to destroy lives,” he said at the time.