Cryptocurrency  

Action Fraud warns of celebrity crypto scams

Action Fraud warns of celebrity crypto scams

Action Fraud has warned the names of well-known business people and financial experts being used to promote cryptocurrency scams.

Deborah Meaden from the BBC’s Dragon’s Den and Martin Lewis, the founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, have both seen themselves linked to fraudulent cryptocurrency investment websites which falsely claimed to be endorsed by them.

The adverts are placed on social media and other websites and use images of these people to promote fraudulent cryptocurrency investments.

In March alone, Action Fraud received 21 reports of this kind, with a total reported loss of more than £34,000 to victims.

Pauline Smith, director of Action Fraud, said: "Opportunistic fraudsters are taking advantage of this market, offering investments in cryptocurrencies and doing everything they can to defraud unsuspecting victims.

"Anyone who invests in cryptocurrencies should  thoroughly research the company they are choosing to invest with. . 

"If you think you have been the victim of this type of fraud, contact Action Fraud."

Clicking on the advert may lead to the full article where these peoples' images are presented along with fake quotes encouraging people to invest with the fraudulent company in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

Alternatively, clicking on the advert will lead to a page where asking for contact details, and the suspect company will then phone the person and persuade them to invest.

Mr Lewis, said: "I find it sickening that these people are leeching off the trust I’ve spent years building in order to target vulnerable people and attempt to steal their money. 

"Let me be very plain. I never do adverts. If you see my picture in an advert on Facebook or anywhere else recommending products – be it Bitcoin, binary trading, PPI firms or anything else – they are nothing to do with me. Be very, very careful."

Action Fraud, which is part of the City of London Police, recommended that potential investors do not assume an advert is authentic, do not be rushed or pressured into making a decision and seek impartial advice, avoiding advisers recommended by the scam company.

damian.fantato@ft.com