The United Kingdom Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prepares and warns the public for an increase in cryptocurrency scams in the coming months. More digital assets-related cases are expected to reach the courts in England and Wales as an increased number of criminals are said to turn to cyber crimes and fraud.
‘Whilst schemes using high investment returns have been used for decades, I think we will see increasing numbers. Cases coming in are in low numbers now but my prediction is they will increase,’ CPS director Max Hill QC stated when he spoke with the UK Financial Times.
These reports come after the UK suffered from over 720 cryptocurrency fraud reports in January 2021 alone. Moreover, digital assets with an estimated value of £113 million were stolen from victims due to cryptocurrency scams in 2020.
Crypto scammers pretend to offer investment opportunities and lure people with the typical get-rich schemes. They ask for personal information and even blackmail people into paying them cryptocurrency.
Reports by CoinTelegraph say that this could be due to the continuous rise of Bitcoin price, which has since quintupled in value in 2020.
The CPS works hand in hand with the police in the UK, handling cases in England and Wales. The CPS is independent of government decisions and focuses on prosecuting cases and determining charges for criminals. In this case, it will determine whether or not crypto scammers should be brought to justice in court.
One of the scammers caught is Nigel Wright, a farmer from Lincolnshire, UK. He was found guilty and convicted in August 2020 for blackmailing Tesco into paying him £750,000 worth of Bitcoin. Otherwise, he threatened that he would contaminate the food being sold, including putting shards of metal in baby food products.
In the event that more cryptocurrency scams arise, the CPS will be handling more cases to assist UK law enforcement in the future. According to reports by CoinTelegraph, the UK is preparing to open a crime court solely dedicated to fraud, and cybercrime cases in 2026.
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