Bitcoin scammers are getting increasingly creative. In a bold move, the fraudsters have impersonated the UK watchdog Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), sending scam emails to encourage the recipients to buy Bitcoin from them.
According to the FT Adviser, the email with the “Guaranteed chance to earn” subject line features the FCA’s branding and logo. The Bitcoin scammers’ email also includes branding from the UK financial services regulator Prudential Regulation Authority.
“Bitcoin is still a long way off its peak price of $20,000, which it reached in 2017, but some cryptocurrency experts believe it could hit an even higher value by 2020,” the scammers write in the email.
By the end of the email, recipients are asked to click on a Call to Action (CTA) button, using the FCA’s colors but with the grave typo “Click her”.
The email of the fraudsters was first revealed by Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers Founder Dominic Thomas who stated to the FT that he had received the email over five times over the weekend. Thomas has posted a tweet yesterday morning to warn the FCA of the incident.
According to Thomas – despite that the email contains a credibility-lowering typo –, the FCA has to know about the scam, which “reveals the extent of the problem with cheap and easy new media advertising.”
According to the FT, the FCA has already flagged the email with the relevant team.
“Keep in mind that we would never contact members of the public asking for money or your bank account details. The correspondence is likely to be linked to organized fraud and we strongly advise you not to respond to the criminals in any way,” the UK watchdog said to the magazine.
This is not the first case when Bitcoin scammers have used the FCA to lure investors. In March, the UK watchdog has published a press release, warning that the Bulgaria-based crypto startup Next Coin Market has been misleading the citizens of the United Kingdom by claiming to be an FCA-authorized firm.
According to the FCA, the scammers have sent users a link to a fake website, giving the impression that Next Coin Market has been authorized by the watchdog.
CCN reported in May that UK citizens had lost $34.2 million to Bitcoin and forex scammers in the period of 2018/19. The victims – who have lost $18,532 on average – were lured into the fraudulent schemes by promising high returns in a short time that could allow them to live in luxury.