‘I’ve destroyed my life’ Man devastated as he loses £18,000 – and £0.5m in Bitcoin

Bitcoin fraud: Victim discusses ‘warning bells’

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This type of fraud sees victims conned into handing over money to people offering fake, but often very convincing, investments with the promise of big returns. He said: “I’ve destroyed my life, changed my life so much for the worse and need to warn people – if it can happen to me it can happen to anyone.”

Mr Saghir started with an initial £18,000 investment, but when that ran out he started to transfer more money in Bitcoin.

Listeners of BBC Money Box heard him talk about his experience to Paul Lewis.

He said: “It was for trading on the stock market with stocks and shares. It all looked legitimate, it was on YouTube, so I filled the form in, and it all started from there.

“At the start, we kept the trades small. I wanted to build it up over time and make a legitimate business.

“Initially it started really well.”

Between May and August, Mr Saghir ended up investing £500,000 worth of Bitcoin to these scammers, thinking they were helping him invest it.

He continued: “[In business] you take the odd small risk; you test the market, when you do some advertising, you dip your toes in, when you try new products, you dip your toes in.

“I did the same with the trading. I started off relatively small.

“As you crash the trade, I had to put more money in to try and get it back up.

“It all spiralled from there you know.”

The scammers told Mr Saghir that he was losing money, so he was encouraged to keep putting more funds into it as a way to see higher returns and potentially make up what he had lost.

Mr Saghir’s case has been reported to the police and they referred him to victim support, however, he is hopeful for further help on the matter.

Cyber security expert Lisa Forte gave listeners advice when investing with Bitcoin.

She said: “Bitcoin is not regulated by any of the various agencies around the world. There is very little consumer protection.

There is very little consumer protection.

“It’s very difficult, in this situation for the police to find anybody.”

With growing popularity for investing with cryptocurrencies, Britons need to be aware that there is very little regulation available despite the amount of fraud that victims fall subject to with these scams.

To avoid becoming a victim to this type of fraud, Ms Forte explained:
“Research anything you put your money into.

“Make sure you understand what Bitcoin actually is, and how it operates so you’re not confused and putting money where you should not be putting it.

“Finally, if anyone says they can make you loads of money quickly, that should always set off alarm bells. That’s not how that stock market works, and that’s not how investments work.”

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