UK prosecutors believe the number of crypto scams will increase, but the numbers will remain low for the time being
The British Crown Prosecution Service assumes that the number of fraud cases related to Bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrency will increase in the coming years, but admits that they are still rather rare for the time being.
The CPS estimates that 86% of reported fraud is now internet-related – a situation exacerbated last year by the COVID-19 outbreak that brought more people online, reports the Financial Times.
According to police statistics from the City of London, 27,187 reports of cybercrime were generated in the UK and Northern Ireland between 2019 and 2020. Of these, 5,581 related to cryptocurrency investment reports, representing a fifth of all reported cybercrime incidents.
The number of generalized fraud cases over the same period totaled 822,276, suggesting that, despite the soaring increase in Bitcoin’s fortune and the broader crypto market, Bitcoin is still not readily adopted by potential fraudsters. Only 0.6% of all fraud cases concerned cryptocurrency, while only 3% concerned cybercrime in general.
However, the rise of Bitcoin in 2020 did not go unnoticed by everyone. Cryptocurrency fraud rose 57% in the year leading up to December 2020 – a year that Bitcoin’s value quintupled.
CPS chief prosecutor QC Max Hill said promises of high investment returns are a common chess game by scammers and he expects cases involving crypto to increase. Regarding the increase in fraudulent cryptocurrency scams, Hill said:
“While systems with high investment returns have been in use for decades, I believe we will see more of them. The number of cases is low right now, but I expect they will increase. “
Statistics show that almost half of all fraud cases involve checks, plastic cards and bank accounts. According to the City of London Police, some of the top threats for 2021 include romance:
“The top damage threats for 2020/21 are courier, romance, payment diversion, investments, computer software service, and card and online bank account fraud.”
A new white-collar crime court is slated to open in London in 2026 and will deal with fraud, white-collar crimes and cybercrime in one place.