Mick invested his money in a cryptocurrency scam
Mick from Edinburgh was devastated losing £100,000 after falling victim to a cryptocurrency scam.
The cafe owner warned his customers after realising he had been tricked. He lost his life savings after investing years of cash into a business he thought was legitimate. The cafe owner was supposed to use that money to buy a flat for his children.
Cryptocurrency is a digital asset that can be traded or exchanged online to buy from people or companies who accept this form of payment.
It’s attracting more attention as a potentially lucrative investment option due to the fluctuations in value. However, NatWest warns that criminals are capitalising on the growing attention cryptocurrency by offering fake investments that don’t really exist or aren’t worth the money.
Mick explained that over seven years working at the cafe he was saving money for his children.
NatWest urges Britons to watch out for cryptocurrency scams
In January 2023, he invested it in cryptocurrency, but by May he realised he had lost “all of his life savings,” reported Edinburgh Live.
In a post to his customers, Mick wrote: “I invested it all in January after doing due diligence on the company so felt safe.”
Mick was saving for a deposit on home for his children however when he went to withdraw this, he was told it was gone.
He had managed to save £35,000 for the deposit and felt relieved as he could provide a secure future for his children. However, the good return he thought he had made on his investment was a lie. His life savings had been taken.
Mick continued: “It never arrived, after weeks of investigation it was found to be fraudulent, and I tried every avenue has been explored to retrieve it.
Scams are on the rise
“The point of the post [is] not sympathy (I’m not that type of person), financial gain, or anything like that.
“I did it. Nobody forced me. It’s just a warning really do not do what I did unless you’re a financial professional. It’s ruined the chance of a house for a dad and his kids so be very careful what you do with your money. Anybody can be anybody on the internet.”
NatWest has explained what customers can look out. Fraudsters promote investment opportunities on social media, fake adverts and endorsements using celebrities or public figures, these adverts link to professional-looking websites to persuade people to invest using cryptocurrencies or traditional currencies.
Criminals manipulate software to distort prices and investment returns and may even defraud people into buying non-existent crypto-assets. The firms operating these scams are usually based outside the UK but will claim to have a UK presence.
On their website, it shows what actions people can take to protect themselves from this type of fraud.
“Before making any investments using cryptocurrency always make sure you understand everything completely and you’re only using money you could afford to lose.
“Double-check the website address (URL) as well as the contact details of a firm. Use resources such as directory enquiries or Companies House to make sure they’re the same.
“You should always have sole control of your cryptocurrency ‘wallet’ and nobody else should have access. If you didn’t set the wallet up yourself or can’t access the money, this is likely to be a scam. You should stop making payments and get in touch with us.”
In a bid to limit cryptocurrency scams, NatWest has decreased the amount of money customers can transfer to cryptocurrency exchanges.
Most cryptocurrencies are not regulated in the UK, but the Government has set out regulatory plans for the industry.
NatWest head of fraud protection Stuart Skinner said the bank had seen an increase in the number of scams linked to cryptocurrency, with UK consumers losing an estimated £329million from such criminal acts.
He also gave advice to help people avoid being duped saying: “You should always have sole control of your cryptocurrency wallet and nobody else should have access. If you didn’t set the wallet up yourself or can’t access the money then this is likely to be a scam.”
Mick’s local community set up a JustGiving page for anyone who wants to help him save up again.
One customer wrote: “Mick is the much-loved owner of the Lodge Coffee House in the Hermitage of Braid local nature reserve. He serves the community with a smile and a chat, and the best scones around! Devastatingly, he has recently lost his life’s savings due to a financial scam, many of you will have seen his recent post about this huge loss.
“This money was saved in the hope that it would provide for his children’s home and future security. Many people want to help in some small way, and if you can donate anything it would be hugely appreciated. This has understandably been a terrible blow to an honest man who works so hard for his family. Even the cost of a cup of coffee will help.”