Alarm bells sound for dramatic increase in cryptocurrency phishing scams

The Netherlands' Fraud Helpdesk is noticing a considerable increase in the number of fraud reports revolving around cryptocurrency Bitcoin. There are no exact figures yet about how many people reported Bitcoin fraud to the helpdesk, but that this type of fraud is increasingly common is very clear, Tanya Wijngaarden of the helpdesk said to BNR.

Phishing scams are particularly common. "These are scams in which people click on a link in an email, and then end up in a page where data is requested", Wijngaarden said. "But we also see people who receive fake invoices and many people who have been persuaded to invest in Bitcoin."

Jacob Boersma, blockchain expert at Deloitte, is not surprised that Bitcoin fraud is on the rise. "Fraud is of course of all times. Fraudsters jump on things that people do not know enough about, but hope to get rich from quickly", he said to BNR. "Bitcoin is now being discussed at birthday parties. You see that people who stepped in early can earn a lot of money with it. And that leads other people to feel they have to jump in, the fear of missing out is great. If you do not really understand how to approach it technically. Then the temptation can be great to accept the offer of someone who says: I am investing on your behalf. You do not know if that is a reliable person."

Boersma added that it is difficult to distinguish between good and bad companies in this field. "You've gotten many experts in the past year because everyone who invests in it considers himself an expert. Go for advice from more reputable companies. And if you invest in it, try do to your own research as much as possible."

Over the past months Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance, the Dutch authority on financial markets AFM, and Dutch central bank DNB all warned Dutch to be careful when investing in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.