Multiple counties in the United Kingdom issued warnings to their residents against a rise in scams that attempt to extort people for cryptocurrencies.
Per the Pembrokeshire, Lancashire, and Norfolk counties, scammers are using the fear of the coronavirus in people to manipulate them.
Residents in these counties are being bombarded with phishing text messages and emails with scammers impersonating officials of the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
They lure the victims saying that in exchange for Bitcoins, they will send the names of COVID-19 positive patients in their locality.
The scammers are asking for “payment for a list of infected people in your area where you may be required to pay by bitcoin or asked to click on a link which delivers malware,” Pembrokeshire County Council noted.
Despite the warnings, many fall prey to these scams.
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“COVID-19 related fraud has increased by 400% in March,” Manchester City Council stated. “Between 1 February 2020 and 18 March 2020, Action Fraud has received 105 reports from victims of COVID-19 related frauds, with losses totaling close to £970,000.”
Regulators remain vigilant
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) also warned investors against an increasing number of scams amid the outbreak of COVID-19.
“Watch out for scams related to coronavirus (COVID-19),” the FCA warned. “These scams take many forms and could be about insurance policies, pensions transfers or high-return investment opportunities, including investments in crypto assets.”
Such warnings were also issued by regulators all over the world, including the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and regulators in malta.
Notably, the United Kingdom is one of the worst-hit places with the pandemic. Hours earlier, the Prime Minister of the country revealed that he was tested positive for COVID-19.
Earlier, Finance Magnates also reported on the rising pandemic-related scams asking for extortions in digital currencies.