UK Bank Limits Crypto Payments to Smother Fraud

NatWest has imposed a daily and 30-day limit on payments from customer accounts to cryptocurrency exchanges, in a bid to reduce their exposure to crypto fraud.

The UK lender said it would not allow customers to transfer more than £1000 ($1213) per day, or more than £5000 ($6066) in a month to exchanges.

NatWest claimed that even legitimate cryptocurrency exchanges are used as a stepping stone to make investments in digital money – some of which can lead to the loss of “life-changing” sums.

The bank said men over 35 are most likely to make risky investments, with the cost-of-living crisis potentially fuelling the problem.

“You should always have sole control of your cryptocurrency wallet and nobody else should have access. If you didn’t set the wallet up yourself or can’t access the money then this is likely to be a scam,” warned NatWest head of fraud protection, Stuart Skinner.

“We have seen an increase in the number of scams using cryptocurrency exchanges and we are acting to protect our customers.”

The bank claimed that £329m was lost by British consumers to such scams last year.

They’ve helped investment fraud become the number one money-maker for cyber-criminals, garnering over $3.3bn in 2022, according to FBI figures.

Read more on crypto scams: Santander Warns of 87% Surge in Celeb Crypto Scams.

The news comes as the FBI warned consumers yesterday of a spike in cryptocurrency investment scams – claiming fraudsters made over $2bn from victims last year alone.

“The schemes are socially engineered and trust-enabled, usually beginning with a romance or confidence scam and evolving into cryptocurrency investment fraud,” the Public Service Announcement explained.

“Once trust is established with victims, criminals introduce the topic of cryptocurrency and claim to have expertise, or an affiliation with experts, who can help potential investors achieve financial success. Criminals then convince victims to use fraudulent websites or apps, controlled by the criminals, to invest in cryptocurrency.”

In these so-called “pig butchering” scams, the fraudster coaches their victim through the investment process, showing them fake returns which encourage them to invest more. Often when the victim tries to cash out, they’re told to pay an additional tax or fee, which also goes to the scammer.

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