By CCN.com: A man from the English channel island of Jersey just wanted to buy bitcoin. In actuality, the unfortunate victim gave away an eye-popping $1.6 million in life savings to crypto scammers. The Jersey Evening Post reports the thieves promised the victim 1,500% returns on his investments.
According to the Post, a spokesperson for the Jersey Financial Services Commission said:
“The victim was engaged for over an 18-month period and they were able to build trust prior to getting the victim to send the greater amounts.”
Detectives and other employees at the U.K. National Crime Agency say it is highly unlikely the islander’s money will ever be recovered from their investigation.
Jersey Fraud Prevention Forum issued a report about the bitcoin scam. They urged islanders to stay vigilant. The forum has also been warning that islanders have been targeted by email scammers who say they’ve taken control of the user’s webcam. The scammers demand payment or threaten to publish embarrassing videos of the victims.
One thing that stood out about the Jersey Evening Post’s report was its claim that the victim was “an experienced investor in cryptocurrencies.” For all that “experience,” he was swindled out of $1.6 million in an online scam.
This seems to stretch credulity. An experienced investor would likely recognize the obvious signs of a scam. On the other hand, experienced con artists can be very persuasive and convincing. Just look at Bernie Madoff, whose Ponzi scheme swindled billions of dollars from wealthy celebrities.
The Jersey Financial Services Commission alleges the bitcoin investment scammers won the Jersey man’s trust gradually over time. They convinced him to invest greater and greater amounts. They say the con artists used the names of reputable U.K. companies to bolster their reputation.
Earlier this week, police saved two men from a scam involving crypto at a mall in Singapore. These scammers allegedly claim to be Chinese government agents. They tell victims they are under investigation for an international crime. Then they order them to transfer bitcoin to the scammers’ wallets.
Many scammers take cash and tell victims they’ll use it to invest in bitcoin. Others target their victims’ cryptocurrency directly. That’s because there’s a lot of money in cryptocurrency. Scammers go where the money is. The crypto industry is also a new space, mostly devoid of the brand capital that mainstream firms have built over decades.
That’s trust that has been well rewarded in so many cases. Misplaced trust, however – out of laziness, ignorance, or carelessness – leaves investors exposed to loss.
A cursory review of cryptocurrency groups and pages on social media and online forums readily evidences the number of scams posted online every day in the bitcoin and crypto spheres. These posts tend to resemble the scams that probably dominate your email spam folder. But whether the payment medium is Western Union or bitcoin, there’s an underlying red flag – the scammers want you to send them money.
Even a child knows from old nursery tales that if you wander into the woods and see a giant house made entirely out of candy, you should pause to consider that it might be too good to be true.