The scam sees fraudsters target victims, predominantly the elderly, over the phone and online, asking them if they would like to buy Bitcoin or other virtual currencies.
Once the victim agrees, they are repeatedly told their investment has been successful and then pressured to purchase more crypto-currency.
When victims ask to withdraw their investment they’re duped into paying ‘taxes’ and given a date for their funds to be transferred but it never arrives.
Detective Sergeant Peter Booth from Northumbria Police’s Cyber Team said: “Over the past week or so we have seen a number of reports of elderly people being scammed into buying crypto-currency across the North East.
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“The financial loss these victims are facing at the hands of these devious scammers is high and has devastating consequences for the victims.
“This seems to be a relatively new and fast moving scam so we would urge families to make sure their elderly relatives are aware, and ask everyone to exercise caution when thinking about buying and kind of currency online.
“Remember, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. We would encourage anyone who thinks they have been a victim of a scam like this to come forward and tell us, or report it to Action Fraud.”
If you have any concerns or think you might have been a victim of fraud visit www.actionfraud.police.uk or www.getsafeonline.org/northumbria.