Former teacher living on universal credit after losing £ 120,000 in Bitcoin scam
A retired teacher has been swindled out of her £ 120,000 in savings after being the victim of a Bitcoin scam on Instagram.
Teresa Jackson, 63, of Portishead, says she found herself claiming universal credit after being tricked into handing over her money.
The retiree spotted the bogus Bitcoin investment program – which claimed it had been endorsed by survival expert Bear Grylls – being advertised on social media.
Ms Jackson says she was then contacted by someone claiming to be a financial advisor who appeared to be “really knowledgeable” and persuaded her to invest her money.
But instead of buying and trading what she thought was Bitcoin, the former teacher instead sent her money directly to scammers.
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By the time she realized she had been duped, she had lost her pension pot as well as the money she had borrowed from a friend.
Speaking to ITV News, Ms Jackson said that “everything felt genuine” and that she had checked the website’s terms and conditions, which were “very well written”.
She said: “He knew everything there was to know about Bitcoin and investing.
“I was going to check everything he said.”
Ms Jackson has since received half of her funds from her bank – but says she couldn’t get the full amount back because she knowingly made the decision to transfer her money.
She must now claim universal credit because of the loss.
Ms. Jackson continued, “I felt embarrassed and stupid… my family trusted me to know what I was doing.”
Sadly, Ms Jackson isn’t the only one getting ripped off with her money – Citizens Advice says 36 million adults have been targeted by scammers since January.
Those over 55 are the most likely to be targeted, although those 34 and under are almost five times more likely to be scammed, the association found.
Younger people were the most likely to be targeted by a text or messaging service (61%), while those over 55 were more likely to be targeted by phone (73%).
Citizens Advice and the Consumer Protection Partnership launched their annual scam awareness campaign this week to help raise awareness of the tactics used by scammers to trick people with their money.
Dame Clare Moriarty, CEO of Citizens Advice, said: “Our research shows that when it comes to scams, anyone can be targeted and anyone can be cheated.
“It’s more important than ever that we all do our part to report scams when we see them to help protect ourselves and others. By learning how scammers work and helping each other understand what to look for, we can all work together to stop scammers on their tracks.
A spokesperson for Instagram, owner of Facebook, said: “We don’t want fraudulent activity on our platform and have built technology to find and reject fraudulent ads and block fraudulent advertisers so that people do not meet them.
“This is an industry wide issue and while no app is perfect, we will continue to invest in new ways to protect people from this activity on our platforms. .
“We also donated £ 3million to Citizens Advice to raise awareness of online scams and help victims.”
What to do if you’ve been scammed
If you’ve been the victim of a scam, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Its telephone lines are open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
You should also let your bank know immediately – the sooner you tell them, the more likely they are to stop the fraudster in their tracks.
Finally, report scammers to the platform they used to contact you.