NatWest, a retail and commercial bank in the United Kingdom, is taking measures to protect customers from potential crypto losses amid Bitcoin (BTC) hitting multi-month highs.
On March 14, NatWest introduced major restrictions on payments to cryptocurrency exchanges, imposing daily and monthly caps for such transactions.
According to an announcement shared with Cointelegraph, NatWest has set a 1,000 British pound ($1,216) limit for daily transactions involving crypto exchanges. The bank has also imposed a 30-day payment limit of 5,000 GBP ($6,080).
The latest restrictions by NatWest aim to help protect customers from losing “life changing sums of money,” the bank said, adding that crypto investments are risky due to a significant amount of scams in the industry.
“We have seen an increase in the number of scams using cryptocurrency exchanges and we are acting to protect our customers,” NatWest’s head of fraud protection, Stuart Skinner, said. The executive emphasized the importance of self-custody in crypto and cautioned crypto investors against delegating storage of their assets to a third party, stating:
“You should always have sole control of your cryptocurrency wallet and nobody else should have access. If you didn’t set the wallet up yourself or can’t access the money then this is likely to be a scam.”
According to NatWest, crypto scammers have been increasingly capitalizing on the ongoing cost-of-living crisis due to promises of high returns.
“Criminals play on a lack of understanding of how cryptocurrency markets work and their unpredictability to encourage investors to transfer money to exchanges, which are often set up in the customer’s own name by the criminal or by the victim, under duress from the criminal,” the bank said. Men over 35 are most at risk due to them being more willing to take the risk on their investments, the announcement noted.
In the statement, NatWest also shared a few steps to help avoid falling victim to cryptocurrency scams, including the recommendation to never share one's private keys with others. The bank also advised crypto investors to read all information at a slow pace to avoid rushed investments and fake websites. NatWest also recommended that investors beware of giveaways, as they are one of the most widespread scams in crypto.
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NatWest is known for cutting all credit and debit card payments to the Binance crypto exchange in 2021. At the time, the company referred to a high level of crypto investment scams as well.
The news comes amid Bitcoin surging above $26,000 as the United States Consumer Price Index data indicated that inflation climbed 6% year-on-year and 0.4% month-on-month. BTC price growth is also likely to be attributed to the ongoing uncertainty around the failures of major banks in the United States, including Silicon Valley Bank, Silvergate and Signature Bank.