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Crypto scam alert

Natwest, a UK bank has sent out a warning to its mobile app users advising them to beware of cryptocurrency scams.

The bank said it had received a “record number” of reports about such scams between January and March 2021.

The alert warns account holders to make sure they have direct control of any digital wallet that is set up to handle transactions, and to beware of promises of big profits.

The warning made particular note of one type of scam which involves hackers installing remote access software on a victim’s computer or hardware. The trick usually sees criminals winning a victim’s trust online, either by posing as an experienced trader, or pretending to be a celebrity, according toreports. The victim is then persuaded to install a cryptocurrency wallet and is urged to invest. After a certain amount of crypto is sent to the wallet, the criminal empties it via the malicious software they installed.

Typically, potential investors are prompted to fill in an online contact form and then encouraged over the phone to set up a cryptocurrency wallet – but unknown to them the scammer installs remote access software on their device, granting them access to it as well.

The victim is then persuaded over time to invest ever larger amounts – until the criminal empties the wallet.

Another ruse is the “get rich quick” cryptocurrency investment opportunity, the bank added.

“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,” said Jason Costain, NatWest’s head of fraud prevention. 

The Financial Conduct Authority has a searchable list of unauthorised firms and individuals offering financial services

People using these will not be protected by the UK’s financial authorities if something goes wrong, the FCA warns.

Source: BBC News, Cointelegraph