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A new audacious crypto scam appears to be circulating: an email pretending to be from the major UK regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), that urges users to invest in the scam’s supposed cryptocurrency ventures.
The founder of the boutique financial planning firm Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers, Dominic Thomas, revealed on Twitter that he had received multiple of those emails supposedly from the FCA, prompting him to invest in crypto via the fraud. Thomas, who was obviously aggravated by the disturbing email, warned the regulatory agency about the viral email.
Thomas explained that he got the fake FCA email 5 times over one weekend and that he suspects the email is [or contains] a virus. He went further to add that such scams depict “the extent of the problem with cheap and easy new media ‘advertising.’”
The content of the scam email promises recipients a guaranteed chance to earn on virtual assets. According to people who got the email, the email preaches the restoration of the world’s largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin(BTC)trade, to its former glory in late 2017. It even promises a much greater price, alleging that experts predict a spike higher than $20,000 by next year. It reads:
“Bitcoin is still a long way off its peak price of $20,000, which it reached in 2017, but some cryptocurrency experts believe it could hit an even higher value by 2020.”
The email, which claims to be from the office of the FCA was designed with the regulator’s brand and logo together with that of another British regulatory body, the Prudential Regulation Authority. A link with the text “Click her” [sic] colored with the FCA’s unique maroon branding, was part of the fraudulent email, urging recipients to click on the malicious link.
FCA Warns against Crypto Scams
Following the exposure of this crypto scam email, the FCA released a set of warnings to the general public, exposing some of the red flags to help identify scam emails. The FCA also asserted that the email was flagged by the regulator’s team and that the sender is most likely associated with an organized fraud, and as such the watchdog strongly advises the public not to respond to the criminals in any way.
Revealing some common flaws with scam emails of this sort, the regulator additionally recommended recipients to “Look for signs that the email, letter or phone call may not be from us, such as it listing a mobile or overseas contact phone number, an email address from a hotmail or gmail account, or a foreign PO Box number.” It also noted that “scam emails or letters often contain spelling mistakes and poor grammar.”
Knowing the FCA’s stand with crypto, it is very unlikely that anyone who is familiar with the regulator’s stance would fall for this cheap scam. The FCA has repeatedly warned against the drawbacks of investing in virtual currencies. Scams like this are very common. Like the website rightly puts it with a known guidance, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Let’s be guided then.