British business magnate Sir Alan Sugar has become the latest to warn Brits about Bitcoin scams following a fake investment endorsement using his name.
Alan Sugar: ‘They Are Scum’
Known for his less than subtle remarks and one-liners in the BBC TV series The Apprentice, 71-year-old Sugar has now spoken out against scams relating to cryptocurrencies. Taking to social media, he warned his followers about an advert from Bitcointrader claiming that he was endorsing their advertisement.
WARNING: Please ignore an advert from Bitcointrader suggesting I endorse their offerings. They are SCUM it is a total scam. Please pass this on to all your friends particularly the elderly who are falling for this terrible scam #BITCOINTRADERSCAM
— Lord Sugar (@Lord_Sugar) May 15, 2018
Unfortunately, with rising interest being seen within the cryptocurrency market, scammers are seeing the potential they present and are turning to them to make a profit from unsuspecting victims. As a result, they are using the faces of well-known individuals to further their cause and make their adverts seem legit.
According to Action Fraud, the U.K.’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre, in March consumers were tricked into transferring a total of £34,000 by fraudsters in 21 separate cryptocurrency cases, reported the Independent. The report quoted Pauline Smith, director of Action Fraud, as stating that fraudsters were opportunistic and were ‘doing everything they can’ to defraud unsuspecting victims.
Other celebrities that have had their images used to promote cryptocurrency scams include Deborah Meaden, known for her role in the TV series Dragons’ Den. MoneySavingExpert Martin Lewis is another individual who has had his image and reputation used for crypto scams. As a presenter on ITV’s The Martin Lewis Money Show, he took matters to another level last month after he announced that he had issued high court proceedings against social media platform Facebook as a result.
At the time, Lewis reported that there had been more than 50 fake adverts with his name posted on the platform that had likely been ‘seen by millions of people in the U.K.’ A few of the get-rich-quick schemes that he mentioned included ‘Bitcoin Code’ and ‘Cloud Trader.’
“Enough is enough,” he said. “I’ve been fighting for over a year to stop Facebook letting scammers use my name and face to rip off vulnerable people – yet it continues.”
The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has also expressed concern about the risks that cryptocurrency scams present to young people. At the beginning of the year, the authority released a warning ‘urging the public to be vigilant to the threat of online investment fraud.’ These included binary options, contracts for difference (CFDs), forex, and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin it noted.