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UK prosecutor prepares for increase in cryptocurrency scams

  • UK’s CPS expects crypto scams to increase over the coming years
  • Crypto-related scams account for only 0.6% of total fraud cases in the UK and Northern Ireland
  • Crypto-related fraud cases is up by 57% over the past year

The cryptocurrency space has grown massively over the past year in terms of trading volume, prices, market cap, and the number of investors. The growth is bound to attract more criminals, and the United Kingdom expects an increase in cryptocurrency scams soon.

UK braces for a surge in crypto scams

The United Kingdom Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) revealed that it is bracing for a surge in cryptocurrency scams over the coming years. The cryptocurrency market is slowly going mainstream, and that is bound to attract more scammers to the industry.

In a report by Financial Times earlier today, the CPS said it estimates that roughly 86% of reported fraud is now cyber-related. The number of cyber-related fraud surged higher over the past year thanks to Covid-19, forcing most people to work from home.

According to the statistics published by the city of London police, 27,187 cyber-crimes were reported in the UK and Northern Ireland between 2019 and 2020. Out of that figure, cryptocurrency-related crime accounted for less than 25% of them (5,581).

The CPS stated that although it is expecting cryptocurrency-related scams to increase over the coming years, the figure remains low at the moment. The statistics also revealed a total of 822,276 fraud cases were reported within that period. Thus, suggesting that despite Bitcoin’s rise over the past year, only 0.6% of overall fraud cases were crypto-related.

Crypto scams surged in 2020

Although crypto-related fraud cases were minute, there was a 57% spike in cryptocurrency scams last year. This came as Bitcoin’s price went up by more than 300% in 2020. The director of public prosecutions at the CPS QC, Max Hill, pointed out that scammers got to their victims by promising high investment returns.

Hill expects these types of cases to increase over the coming years. “Whilst schemes using high investment returns have been used for decades, I think we will see increasing numbers. Cases coming in are in low numbers now, but my prediction is they will increase,” the director added.

The cryptocurrency market has grown massively over the past year, with Bitcoin reaching an all-time high above $61,000.

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