NatWest is increasing customer protection against crypto-criminals after £329m was lost by consumers last year.
A daily limit of £1000 and a 30-day payment limit of £5000 to cryptocurrency exchanges is being implemented to help protect customers losing life changing sums of money.
Cryptocurrency investments are often made through legitimate exchange platforms. These websites let customers buy, sell or exchange cryptocurrencies for other digital currency or traditional currency.
Men over 35 are most at risk due to them being more willing to take on risky investments. The cost-of-living crisis is also having an impact with promises of high returns used by criminals to entice investors.
Cryptocurrency scams are often advertised online offering high returns on investments. Criminals play on a lack of understanding of how cryptocurrency markets work and their unpredictability, to encourage investors to transfer money to exchanges, which are often set up in the customer’s own name by the criminal or by the victim, under duress from the criminal.
Stuart Skinner, Head of Fraud Protection NatWest, says: “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.
We have seen an increase in the number of scams using cryptocurrency exchanges and we are acting to protect our customers.”
Cryptocurrency isn’t protected by the UK’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme and most aren’t regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Three steps to take to help avoid becoming the victim of a cryptocurrency scam
- Never share the password of your crypto wallet with anyone, even if your crytpo contact/investor says they need it to deposit money into your wallet.
- Read all information slowly – don’t be rushed into making an investment due to the volatility of the market. This is an opportunity to look out for typos and grammatical mistakes on a fake website.
- Beware of giveaways – social media is awash with crypto-criminals using fake messages from well-known companies and celebrities promoting giveaways to fake accounts, they’ll often have positive responses within the advertisement which make it seem more legitimate, but these are also fake.