A RETIRED teacher was scammed out of her £120,000 life savings after falling victim to a Bitcoin scam on Instagram.
Teresa Jackson, 63, from Portishead, signed up to a Bitcoin investment scheme after spotting an advert for it on Instagram.
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The scheme claimed it had been endorsed by survival expert and TV Star Bear Grylls – but she only found out it was fake after losing all her money.
She told ITV News she was contacted by someone claiming to be a financial advisor who she thought was “really knowledgeable”.
Following the phone call she did a small bit of research on the company, reading the website and terms and conditions.
She was persuaded to to invest her money.
What to do if you think you’ve been scammed
IF you’ve lost money in a scam, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or by visiting Actionfraud.police.uk.
You should also contact your bank or credit card provider immediatley to see if they can stop or trace the cash.
If you don’t think your bank has managed your complaint correctly, or if you’re unhappy with the verdict it gives on your case you can complain to the free Financial Ombudsman Service.
Also monitor your credit report in the months following the fraud to ensure crooks don’t make further attempts to steal your cash.
Teresa told ITV News: “I only checked the website – it was very well worded – I read the terms and conditions. Everything about the company I read, but my checks were limited really.”
After she signed up to the investment platform, she began to pile her cash into buying and trading what she thought was Bitcoin.
The platform was so realistic she thought she had made losses and gains on her coins.
But in fact, she was being tricked and was sending her money directly into the hands of crooks.
By the time she realised it was a con, it was too late – she had lost her pension pot along with money she had borrowed from a friend who she thought she would be able to repay quickly.
Her bank gave her half of the £120,000 she was scammed out of, but she told ITV News that it wouldn’t give her the full amount as she made the decision to transfer the money herself.
She now has to claim Universal Credit, which she wouldn’t have needed to if she had not been conned.
5 risks of crypto investments
THE Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned people about the risks of investing in cryptocurrencies.
- Consumer protection: Some investments advertising high returns based on cryptoassets may not be subject to regulation beyond anti-money laundering requirements.
- Price volatility: Significant price volatility in cryptoassets, combined with the inherent difficulties of valuing cryptoassets reliably, places consumers at a high risk of losses.
- Product complexity: The complexity of some products and services relating to cryptoassets can make it hard for consumers to understand the risks. There is no guarantee that cryptoassets can be converted back into cash. Converting a cryptoasset back to cash depends on demand and supply existing in the market.
- Charges and fees: Consumers should consider the impact of fees and charges on their investment which may be more than those for regulated investment products.
- Marketing materials: Firms may overstate the returns of products or understate the risks involved.
She said she feels “very embarrassed” and “stupid” for being falling for the fruad, and said she had lost the trust of her children and her partner.
The Sun approached Instagram for comment.
Investing in any cryptocurrency is a risky game.
Because cryptocurrencies are unregulated, you could lose all your money and you may not be able to get funds back if you are scammed.
Experts have also raised concerns about whether some coins – like PooCoin and SafeMoon – are legit.
You should never invest in something you don’t understand, and you should only invest money that you can afford to lose.
Teresa isn’t the only Brit who has been taken in by cryptocurrency scammers.
Bride-to-be Melissa Martin told The Sun last year how she “hit the bottom” after being conned out of almost £30,000 by fraudsters claiming to be Bitcoin investors.
While a school teacher lost £9,000 to a fake “Elon Musk” Bitcoin scam – which would have gone towards a deposit for a new home.
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