NatWest has issued an alert to people to beware of cryptocurrency scams.
It said it had prevented millions of pounds from being sent to “crypto-criminals”.
The frauds typically involve scammers posting adverts with a bogus celebrity endorsement on a fake website with an article promoting cryptocurrency.
Investors are asked to complete a contact form and the criminal uses these details to follow up with a telephone call.
During the call the fraudster, posing as a cryptocurrency trader, helps the victim open a wallet with a trading platform and in the process persuades them to install remote access software onto their computer.
Small sums to start with but worse to follow
Initially the victim transfers a small amount of money to the wallet, but over time they are persuaded to invest far larger sums. Remote access software is then used to empty the victim’s cryptocurrency wallet.
NatWest is offering customers free software to help with added online protection and recently introduced a manage my limits feature online, which allows customers to restrict the amount of money that can be transferred out of their account.
Jason Costain, head of fraud prevention at Edinburgh-headquartered NatWest, said: “We have prevented millions of pounds from being sent to crypto-criminals who are exploiting the high levels of interest in the currency.
“However, consumers should always be alert, especially to the use of fake websites and bogus celebrity endorsements.”
Don’t you get ripped off
Here are NatWest’s tips to avoid a cryptocurrency scam:
- If you have been contacted by a “trader” promising large profits and offering to help you invest in cryptocurrency, it is likely a scam.
- Always have control of your cryptocurrency wallet. If you did not set the wallet up yourself or a trader persuaded you to download remote access software onto your computer, this could be a sign of a scam. You should stop making payments immediately.
- Follow Financial Conduct Authority advice and check the cryptocurrency firm you are dealing with has been approved by them.