Finance watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a warning about crooks targeting people in the UK while claiming to be regulated financial companies soliciting cash for a non-existent investment. The crypto crooks say they are representatives of ICAP Crypto, a ‘clone firm’ of the legitimate, FCA-regulated ICAP – which has no association with ICAP Crypto. Victims are given false details, mixed in with real data about the verified firms they are posing as, and asked to hand over cash. An FCA spokesperson said: “This firm (ICAP Crypto) is not authorised or registered by us but has been targeting people in the UK, claiming to be an authorised firm.
“This is what we call a ‘clone firm’ and fraudsters usually use this tactic when contacting people out of the blue, so you should be especially wary if you have been ‘cold-called’.”
Fraudsters promise high returns from investments in crypto and foreign currency exchanges.
They often use social media to promote their ‘get rich quick’ online trading platforms.
Crypto and forex investment scams more than tripled last year, with Britons losing more than £27million in 2018/2019.
Supported by the City of London Police, the FCA’s ScamSmart campaign encourages those considering an investment to check its dedicated website for tips on how to avoid investment fraud.
Director of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, says: “These figures are startling and provide a stark warning that people need to be wary of fake investments on online trading platforms.
“It’s vital that people carry out the necessary checks to ensure that an investment they’re considering is legitimate.”
A form of digital cash, cryptocurrency uses encryption to secure transactions and control the creation of new units.