Devon adviser helps client 'scammed' out of £220k by crypto

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Devon adviser helps client 'scammed' out of £220k by crypto
Cryptocurrency and whisky investments have lured advised clients, an adviser has warned. (Ivan Babydov/Pexels)

Cryptocurrencies, whisky investments and Facebook financiers have lured even well-advised clients, so advisers must always raise awareness of potential scams and high-risk investments with their clients, one chartered financial adviser has warned. 

Philip Milton, of PJ Milton & Co in Barnstaple, Devon, said he had taken on a new client who had been 'duped' by glossy online advertising and invested heavily into cryptocurrency. 

He came to Milton, feeling "clearly vulnerable" to ask for help. 

Milton said: "A new client shared how he had been duped to become involved in ‘cryptocurrency’. But contrary to the many adverts noting what wonderful gains everyone was making, his forays cost him £220,000 – a sum he could certainly ill afford.

"It was funded ultimately by maxing-out credit cards, all aiming to retrieve what he had lost before."

Effectively, where we come across such cases we try to do whatever we can, at our cost.Philip Milton

He added: "He was unable to realise that had been happening and without having someone unrelated to talk about things, the outcome became inevitable.

"I was very sorry to hear about this and have started to work with them to repair the holes in their finances and to put things back on the straight and narrow."

However, Milton warned this was not the first case the company has encountered with significant sums involved. He added: "Another was a man who gambled all of the value of his mother’s house, which he had just inherited, as he didn’t know what to do with the money.

"He did not have much wherewithal behind him at all and it has all gone."

Regular communications

Such examples are why the Devon-based company, which has just renewed its Corporate Chartered Status with the Chartered Insurance Institute, has been attempting to educate clients and prospective clients through regular newsletters and communications. 

Milton added: "Effectively, where we come across such cases we try to do whatever we can, at our cost. This can be investigating whether it is a real scam or simply falling for the ‘duping’ by the crypto regime and capital lost ‘legitimately’ in some instances.

"Very often ‘they’ don’t know the difference and it is not just crypto – it is any and all scams. 

There are a lot of people who are 'in love' with crypto.Philip Milton

"We then look for regulated protection, if any at all and start delving into whatever other possible routes which could exist - as well as counselling of sorts to try to repair the psychological damage the victim will often have suffered as well."

He pointed to Facebook and social media adverts for 'investments' such as whisky, some of which are purporting to give high double-digit or even triple-digit returns.