A call centre in the middle of London, purporting to sell fake digital currencies, has been shut down by the City’s police.
Having set up their ‘boiler room’ in the City's famous square mile, on Old Broad Street, which is around the corner from the Bank of England, the fraudsters would cold call potential investors in hopes of enticing them to invest in the boom of digital currencies.
The police have held a suspect who is accused of trying to entice victims to invest in a fictional cryptocurrency.
"Victims were cold called by salespeople who allegedly persuaded them to invest in a cryptocurrency that does not exist and is therefore worthless.”
It is believed that the fraudsters were successful, and lucrative, as they were reported by nine victims to Action Fraud after losing an estimated £160,000 in total.
Profiting from the hype
The boom of cryptocurrencies, especially buoyed by Bitcoin’s astronomic growth recently, as well as ICO’s breaking records for fundraising and growth, has seen many parties have their interest piqued.
Digital currencies are still somewhat mysterious to the average person in the street with there being lots of questions over buying digital currencies. The fraudsters preyed on this interest and confusion in their cold calls.
Reported to Action Fraud
Police got involved in investigating this operation when a number of people reported the boiler room to the UK's consumer fraud and cyber crime watchdog Action Fraud.
"Investment fraudsters are still targeting people throughout the country (and other countries, such as China) and they employ aggressive sales tactics which are often used to pressurise unsuspecting victims into parting with large sums of money," said Mark Forster, detective inspector at the City of London Police.
"These people often base themselves in the City as they believe having an address in a prestigious financial district will help to legitimise their fraud."