The dark side of social media: Grandparents scammed through crypto fraud

Written by Henrik Rothen

Oct.23 - 2023 9:21 PM CET

Grandparents scammed through crypto fraud.

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Social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and WhatsApp have become hunting grounds for scammers who lure victims with fake cryptocurrency investments.

Retired ambulance driver Peter Verheul and 81-year-old Sylvia Harber are just two of many who have lost thousands to scammers on social media.

Fake investment opportunities lure victims

According to Thisismoney, Peter Verheul, a 66-year-old grandfather from Wainfleet, Lincolnshire, was introduced to TikTok by his grandchild.

He was attracted to a video that suggested a promising investment opportunity.

Encouraged by the enticing returns, Peter decided to invest £200 (approximately $272) in hopes of increasing his savings to buy a new, more accessible home.

After contacting the video owner on TikTok, Peter was guided through the investment process by a woman named Charlotte, who claimed to be his investment manager.

After several phone calls and instructions, Peter invested a total of £110,000 (approximately $149,600) in various cryptocurrencies.

Scammers' methods

Scammers use professionally designed fake platforms and intensive personal communication to build trust. In Peter's case, he was convinced to transfer large amounts while Charlotte assisted him over the phone, even during conversations with his bank.

Similar tactics were used on Sylvia Harber, who decided to invest after seeing a fake ad on Facebook. Sylvia was also asked to download the AnyDesk app, which allowed the scammers to take control of her phone and manage all transactions.

Social media's responsibility

Money Mail has launched a campaign, Stop The Social Media Scammers, urging tech companies to better protect users from scammers.

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