Investment and cryptocurrency scams

If someone told you they could double or triple your money with little to no risk, you’d probably think it was too good to be true, right?

Unfortunately, with the help of technology, scammers are becoming increasingly convincing. So, it’s no wonder people are falling for their tricks. In fact, in 2022, over £300 million was lost in the UK to cryptocurrency (crypto) scams alone.

With investment and crypto scams putting you at risk of losing significant amounts of money, here’s how to avoid them.

How an investment or crypto scam usually works

A scammer will contact you via email or social media — or promote their fake investment opportunity online via a search engine. They might use images of celebrities and fake testimonials to gain your trust. The scammer could even have a professional-looking website showing hefty investment returns.

After they’ve lured you into handing over your hard-earned money with promises of ‘huge gains’ or ‘zero risk’, they might initially make it seem like you’ve gained some money. They’ll use this to persuade you to invest more or invite your friends and family to invest too. Once they’ve gotten as much from you as they think they can, they’ll close your account and disappear with your money.

Investing with borrowed money

Not only are people falling victim to investment and crypto scams and handing over their life savings, but we’re also seeing a rise in the number of people taking out loans to fund these ‘investments’ — often claiming the money’s needed for things like home improvements.

After parting ways with your cash, you’ll never hear from these so-called investors again and can be left paying off the loan for years to come. What’s worse, since you’ve been tricked into willingly taking out a loan under false pretences, it’s much harder to retrieve any stolen money.

How to protect yourself from investment and crypto scams

Do your own research

Before investing in anything, do your own research. Check whether the company is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority and look for reviews and feedback from other investors. Remember, you shouldn’t rely on the testimonials they send you as they could be fake.

Beware of unsolicited investment offers

Scammers often use cold-calling, emails, texts or social media to target potential victims. If an investment firm is legitimate, it’s unlikely they’ll contact you out of the blue.

Be cautious of anything that looks too good to be true

If you’re being offered an investment opportunity that guarantees returns or has no risk, it's likely to be fake.

Don't be pressured into investing

Scammers often use high-pressure tactics to get people to invest before they’ve done any of their own research. A legitimate investment company will never pressure you into investing, persuade you to invest more than you can afford or convince you to take out a loan to fund an investment.

Investment and crypto scams are on the rise. And with the help of AI, false advertisements and websites are increasingly difficult to spot. Before committing to an investment, it’s always sensible to check whether the company is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority and speak to an independent financial advisor.

For more information on how to protect yourself from fraud, visit the Take Five website.

How to report a scam

If you think you might have been a victim of a scam or notice a suspicious transaction on your Zopa account, please get in touch. 


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Other scams to be aware of

Social media scams

There a few different types of social media scams, including phishing, which is when a scammer messages you pretending to be someone you know or a company you trust to get personal information or money from you.

Other types of social media scams include fake advertisements and romance scams.

Learn more

Suspicious emails, texts and calls

Scammers may use emails (phishing), texts (smishing) and calls (vishing) to trick you into handing over your personal information or clicking a dodgy link.

They usually do this by pretending to be from a company you know or trust, like your bank, HMRC or Royal Mail.

Learn more

Romance scams

Romance scams are when a scammer befriends you using a fake profile. They build a relationship with you over the course of weeks or months before convincing you to give them money.

Scammers use a range of tactics to gain your trust, such as sending gifts, offering compliments or sharing personal stories.

Learn more

How Zopa protects you and your money from fraudsters

Read about the latest scams, how to protect yourself and what to do if you think you've been a victim of fraud.

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