Cryptocurrency fraud rose by 32% in the UK over the last year, part of a larger fraud “epidemic” that began during the pandemic as people moved their financial activity online.
That’s according to a Monday (Nov. 28) by the Financial Times, citing data collected from a freedom of information request to the British police unit Action Fraud.
Losses involving crypto reported to this unit added up to 226 million pounds (or $272 million) for the period from October 2021 to September of this year, up 32% from October 2020 to September 2021. The number of reported frauds rose 16% to 10,030.
The FT report calls the figures part of a larger wave of fraud which the financial services trade body UK Finance said increased during the pandemic, with fraud in general increasing 8% in 2021 to 1.3 billion pounds, or $1.5 billion.
The news comes soon after reports that Capital Block conducted its own Freedom of Information (FOI) request to find that Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority received 7,287 reports of crypto asset scams between July of last year and June 2022, a 45% increase from the same period between 2020 and 2021.
“That the world’s financial centers do not yet have effective crypto regulation is quite shocking. Crypto is here to stay and it must be regulated consistently internationally and treated like any other financial investment, such as stocks and shares,” said Tim Mangnall, Capital Block’s CEO.
These findings mirror recent findings in the US from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), which said earlier this month that fraud and scam reports account for 40% of the complaints it receives about cryptocurrency.
“Our analysis of consumer complaints suggests that bad actors are leveraging crypto-assets to perpetrate fraud on the public,” CFPB Director Rohit Chopra said earlier this month.
“Americans are also reporting transaction problems, frozen accounts, and lost savings when it comes to crypto-assets. People should be wary of anyone seeking upfront payment in crypto-assets, since this may be a scam.”