Bitcoin investors have been put on alert over cybercriminals offering investment scams
Bitcoin price news has been disheartening for investors this month, with the cryptocurrency having a rocky few weeks.
Bitcoin investors saw the value of the cryptocurrency fall from just shy of $20,000 in December to around $9,000 right now for a single Bitcoin.
Despite this Bitcoin price fluctuation, investors have predicted the cryptocurrency could skyrocket to being worth $50,000 this year.
Amid these huge predictions for the value of Bitcoin, investors have been warned not to fall for cryptocurrency scams carried out by cybercriminals.
Experts have this week issued a fresh warning that scammers are trying to lure people into cons revolving around Bitcoin investments.
Fraudsters are using social media to contact people allegedly offering them the chance to invest in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ripple and Ethereum.
Such cons are tricking people in the UK out of £87,000 every day, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned.
Besides Bitcoin scams, the FCA highlighted binary option cons, contracts for difference (CFDs) and forex swindles.
And the financial authority is now urging Bitcoin investors to be on their guard so they don’t fall victims to one of these scams.
Mark Steward, Director of Enforcement at the FCA, said: “As people have become more sceptical of investment-related cold calls and consumer habits have changed, we have seen investment fraud moving online and to social media.
“While their websites and profiles appear to be professional, they are all too often run by fraudsters who fix prices and pay-outs, or in some instances don’t really place trades at all, before disappearing with innocent investors’ money.
“Before investing online, check you know who you are really dealing with and check if they are authorised by the FCA. Find out how to avoid scams on the ScamSmart website, and if in any doubt – don’t invest.”
Former The Apprentice star Nick Hewer, who is supporting the FCA campaign, added: “The amount being lost every day to online investment fraud, such as binary options scams, is staggering.
“It’s vital for all those on social media to be extra cautious about engaging in any conversations or with adverts that relate to quick-wins or guaranteed returns, especially with individuals or companies you do not know.
“Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. If you are offered an attractive investment out of the blue, be suspicious, check the FCA’s Warning List and seek impartial advice.
“Better still, if you get an email or message about an investment from someone you don’t know, just delete it.”
Bitcoin price news has been disheartening for investors this month
The FCA has offered social media users advice on how not to fall for a Facebook investment scam.
• Reject unsolicited investment offers whether made online, on social media or over the phone.
• Before investing, check the FCA Register to see if the firm or individual you are dealing with is authorised and check the FCA Warning List of firms to avoid.
• Get impartial advice before investing.
The FCA findings come as part of their ScamSmart campaign, which encourages those considering investing to check www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart.
The dedicated site contains a Warning List tool which allows user to view a list of firms the FCA knows is operating without its authorisation.
Amid these risks to Bitcoin investors, those who have money tied up in the cryptocurrency have been advised how to keep it safe.
Security experts have this month been recommending Bitcoin fans store their coins in an offline ‘cold’ wallet.
Kaspersky Lab’s Alexey Malanov recently said: “The ever increasing value of cryptocurrencies, especially bitcoin, makes them a very attractive target to cybercriminals, who use various methods to get their hands on them.
“There have been several huge hacks of cryptocurrency exchanges in the past and the trend will only continue.”
While Symantec threat researcher Candid Wüest also said: “The safest way for users to store their bitcoin is to use offline wallets which are not connected to a computer.”
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who famously fought a legal battle with Mark Zuckerburg over the ownership of Facebook, reportedly have over a billion dollars worth of Bitcoin.
They store their fortune in a ‘cold’ wallet, with their private keys written on pieces of paper that have been cut up and placed in banks around the world.
Last week the risk to not storing Bitcoin in a cold wallet was highlighted by hackers stealing £380million worth of cryptocurrency from the Coincheck exchange.
The Japanese exchange has since said it would refund around 90 per cent of the stolen NEM coins using its own internal funds.