According to local media reports, an elderly couple living in the United Kingdom has reportedly lost £80,000 (roughly $100,000) in a cryptocurrency scam falsely linked to a locally famous financial expert Martin Lewis.
Sources reveal that Martin Lewis is a renowned personality in the UK, recognized for his expertise in consumer finance, journalism, and TV presenting. He is the founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, a website offering financial advice and money-saving tips.
Additionally, Martin is regularly appearing on TV and radio shows and is known for his advocacy for financial education and consumer protection. With his vast knowledge and influence, Martin is widely considered an authority on personal finance in the UK.
As per a local financial website, the couple whose names are not revealed due to privacy reasons fell victim to a conman who falsely claimed to be endorsed by Martin Lewis. Reportedly, the accused convinced the couple to invest in Bitcoin through a series of transactions using fintech platforms like Revolut, Wise, and Binance.
To execute his plans, the scammer posed as an investment manager and guided the couple in setting up accounts and avoiding fraud prevention measures. Following that, he instructed the couple to make 14 transactions ranging from £3,000 to £5,000 in return for receiving double their investment within four weeks. However, when the couple attempted to withdraw their funds, they were asked to pay £10,000 for capital gains tax.
This was the point at which they realized they had been scammed. Then they reached out to their family members i.e. their daughter and son-in-law who further reported the fraud to the banks. Unfortunately, both Barclays and Revolut allegedly refused to reimburse the lost funds.
Reportedly, Barclays told the elderly couple that they would not be reimbursed for their lost money because the bank executed the customary process before the transfer. The bank claimed to have warned them about the payments beforehand and have also made a call to confirm the transactions.
Similarly, sources reveal that Revolut altogether denied the existence of fraudulent activity in the couple’s account and then reportedly refused to compensate them for their loss. Instead, they allegedly sent the couple a few links for informational purposes (among them, a link to a website for finding a food bank), hoping to assist them in comprehending the situation and avoiding similar situations in the future.
A Revolut spokesman briefed the media expressing their apologies for the targeted couple as they fell prey to such ruthless and highly sophisticated criminals. Proving its commitment to customers’ safety, Revolut suggests taking steps to satisfy themselves that the person they are sending money to is legitimate. “We encourage customers to check the investment company is genuine and a regulated firm. If in doubt, seek trusted independent financial advice first.“
The increasing use of cryptocurrencies to commit frauds and scams has been a concern for regulators, investors as well as institutions across the globe. In particular, the UK has observed a remarkable increase in the number of frauds and scams. According to a joint investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Observer, the country has become a hub for crypto and forex scams.
While the investigation revealed that at least 168 companies have been accused of running fraudulent crypto or foreign exchange (forex) scams in the UK, the actual number is believed to be much higher. As the British lawmakers progress towards developing a sensible regulation while keeping the desire for the region to be a crypto hub intact, they have to put sufficient focus on ways to tackle the increasing crimes.