A first-time crypto investor is being forced to sell her home after an online scam using the image of a well-known British finance expert landed her with £150,000 ($190,000) of debt.
Lanarkshire resident Jennifer came across the apparent investment opportunity, seemingly endorsed by UK consumer advice expert Martin Lewis, in late 2022 and decided to invest her savings. She was subsequently coaxed into taking out several further loans via fintech company Revolut, each totaling £20,000 (nearly $25,000).
This continued for around 10 days until Jennifer’s bank stepped in to block any future transfers. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done and instead of seeing her investment grow as promised, Jennifer is now being forced to sell her family home to cover her losses.
To make matters worse, the mother of two subsequently discovered that because her case is technically classed as a scam rather than fraud, she can’t reclaim any of her money.
“It’s taken me a long time to get to where I am and the thought of losing this home, obviously for the sake of my children, is horrific,” she told STV.
“My big concern is that it got to the value that it did before my bank stopped me, we’re talking about 10 days in total at this point,” she added.
Conor Forbes, Advice Direct Scotland’s director of policy, told STV: “Obviously Jennifer’s case is absolutely harrowing as well as the amount of money that has been lost. We’re doing all we can to support her.”
TV personality Lewis also commented, advising consumers to ignore any schemes or apparent opportunities that claim to be endorsed by him.
“I’m so sorry for Jennifer and to know she is trying to sell her house, I hope she is doing everything she can,” he told STV.
“In the UK right now, you can scam and fraud people with very, very little consequence. So the people doing these scams know they can get away with it. Until they know they will lose money and face proper criminal sanctions, it’s going to continue. It’s rife and we need change.”
He also warned, “If you see me in an advert, it’s a scam. I do not do adverts and I have the inglorious title of being the person whose face is used in more scam adverts than anyone else.”
Crypto scam victim may be forced to sell his nudist beach
Another alleged crypto scam in Scotland saw a wealthy estate owner lose £130,000 ($160,000) to a fake crypto exchange. He believed he’d made £400,000 ($500,000) on the fake site, but later realized he couldn’t withdraw his money. He says his nudist beach might be sold to cover the losses.
The UK’s advertising watchdog said in 2021 that it’s going to crack down on “irresponsible” and “misleading” crypto adverts through the use of web scraping and AI tools.
Despite this, losses involving crypto between October 2021 and September 2022 rose to £226 million, a 32% increase, according to Action Fraud.
Quotes in bold are our emphasis.