Woman Loses £180K to Inquiry Exploiters: How to Spot the Scam

The Norfolk woman established a close relationship with the scammer, even authorizing remote device access for money transfers.

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  • A Norfolk woman fell victim to a contact form investment scam.
  • The scammer built up a close relationship with the victim over six months.
  • Crypto scam losses saw an exponential rise between 2018 and 2021.

Rightly or wrong, cryptocurrency and criminality are closely associated, given the prevalence of scams within the digital asset industry.

In another reminder of this, Norfolk Police issued a warning to the general public detailing how a local woman lost £180k (US$227.3k) after completing an online inquiry form to do with cryptocurrency investing.

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The woman believed she had opened a high-yielding cryptocurrency trading account, giving the scammers remote access to her phone and laptop to transfer large sums of money to fund the account. The fraud occurred over a six-month period when a “close relationship” was established between the victim and fraudster.

How Contact Form Scams Work

In the contact form scam, cybercriminals post advertisements on search engines and social media requesting individuals complete an inquiry form. The initial goal is to establish contact with the victim using the form. Once contact has been made, the scammer will attempt to lure the victim into sending money or cryptocurrency, reminiscent of a pig butchering scam.

This scam has phishing and social engineering elements, often with the promise of lofty investment returns to entice the victim to hand over funds.

A variation of this scam targets companies that use website contact forms for potential customers to submit inquiries. Cybercriminals fill out the form and wait for a company employee to answer the inquiry by email. Once contact has been made, the scammer will reply with a malware-infected file that grants the exploiters access to the business’ network if the file is opened.

Preventing Contact Form Scams

Contact form scams tempt victims with false promises of unreal returns. The age-old adage “if something is too good to be true, it probably is” applies here. If you suspect something is amiss, here are some steps to take to be sure:

  • Thoroughly research the projects and crypto companies named before handing any over money.
  • Ignore requests to send private keys or money.
  • Take celebrity endorsements with a pinch of salt.
  • Remember that legitimate crypto companies do not use high-pressure sales tactics.
  • Think twice about clicking attached email files from unknown parties.
  • Never authorize remote access on devices.
  • Get a second opinion by talking through the investment proposals with family and friends.

On the Flipside

  • Illicit cryptocurrency activity in 2022 comprised a small percentage of all transactions at just 0.2%, per Chainalysis.
  • The Federal Trade Commission reported that total losses from scams grew 60-fold in 2021 compared to 2018. 

Why This Matters

Rising losses between 2018 and 2021 indicate that scammers show no signs of easing up focus on digital assets.

Read more about the crypto scam allegations levied against football legend Ronaldinho here:

Ronaldinho Refutes Role in Alleged $61M Crypto Scam

Stay informed on China’s latest push for retail CBDC adoption here:

China Pushes CBDC Retail Adoption Despite Surveillance Concerns

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Author
Samuel Wan

Samuel Wan is a finance professional turned crypto journalist, known for his insightful reporting on market trends, regulatory changes, and technological developments within the digital asset industry. His ability to simplify complex concepts and report the facts has made him a trusted source in the crypto community. Beyond his writing, Samuel is an active mountain biker and gamer.