NatWest issues cryptocurrency scam warning

NatWest has issued an alert to customers warning of the dangers of cryptocurrency scams.

NatWest customers this morning received a notice urging them to be vigilant over a sophisticated cryptocurrency scam targeting investors.

The scam typically involves online adverts carrying a bogus celebrity endorsement on a fake website with an article promoting cryptocurrency.

The first three months of the year saw a record number of cryptocurrency investment scams.

The value of money UK consumers lose each year to investment scams has increased 42 per cent to £135.1m according to UK Finance.

As part of the scam highlighted by NatWest, investors are asked to complete a contact form and the criminal uses these details to follow up with a telephone call.

During the call the fraudster, purporting to be a “cryptocurrency trader”, helps the victim open a wallet with a cryptocurrency trading platform and in the process persuades the victim to install remote access software onto their computer.

Initially the victim transfers a small amount of money to the wallet, but over time they are persuaded to invest far larger sums by the criminals. Remote access software is then used to empty the victim’s cryptocurrency wallet.

Jason Costain, head of fraud prevention at NatWest said, “We have prevented millions of pounds from being sent to crypto-criminals who are exploiting the high levels of interest in the currency. However, consumers should always be alert, especially to the use of fake websites and bogus celebrity endorsements.”

NatWest said it encourages customers to beware of fake websites advertising get-rich-quick cryptocurrency schemes and urges anyone who is trading in cryptocurrency to verify that no one else can access their cryptocurrency wallet. If suspicious, investors should immediately stop making payments and contact their bank and the cryptocurrency wallet provider.

The lender is also offering customers free Malwarebytes software to help with added online protection and recently introduced a Manage My Limits feature online which enables customers to configure their own security settings by restricting the amount of money that can be transferred out of their account.

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