Details of this crypto investment scam also featured in a partnership between CEL Solicitors and Bauer Media.
Mr Evans, a former military and police officer from Wales, wanted to diversify his trading portfolio and explore crypto trading after hearing of the impressive returns that some traders were making.
He already had experience in traditional investing and understood how to research a company before placing trust in it. He searched for reputable crypto trading platforms online and found an advert for one such platform that seemed professional and reliable, called AAA Trade.
“I came across a company that looked absolutely perfectly legitimate.
“My background is military. I spent eight years actually in the police force, so if anybody was going to be aware of it, I might suggest I’d be one of them.” – Mr Evans.
He filled out an enquiry form on the website and was soon contacted by a representative from a company called Top Trade Pro who claimed they were to guide him through the trading process.
They already had all of the information provided in the sign-up form, leading Mr Evans to believe that this was a genuine service. He checked online to verify that both AAA Trade and Top Trade Pro were legitimate and could not find any red flags.
The Top Trade Pro representative explained that there was some additional paperwork to complete before he could start trading and sent him a link to upload his personal information, including his ID and passport information. He was also sent the terms and conditions of the platform which once again looked professional and authentic. After uploading his information, Mr Evans received an email confirming that his account had been verified.
Mr Evans was then guided through the platform over the phone. He was advised to invest an initial £250 as a minimum deposit and after doing so without issue invested a further £4,951.48 as a second deposit.
By this point, nothing stood out as suspicious and Mr Evans had full faith in the legitimacy of the platform.
Over time Mr Evans was persuaded to invest more and more money into his account in the hopes of a larger return.
“Without realizing it, I was being cajoled into making heavier and bigger investments”
They demanded a further payment of more than £10,000, which Mr Evans did provide. It was only when he began to ask questions of his account manager that things quickly turned sour.
After requesting to withdraw £4,000 of his money from his account, he was told that this would result in a £9,000 charge. By now Mr Evans understood that the entire thing had been a scam and that he had fallen into their trap.
“They changed. Their characteristics changed. I ended up being scammed out of a considerable amount of money, by which time it was kind of too late.
“I was so embarrassed. I couldn’t tell any friends. I couldn’t even bring myself to tell my sons because I felt so stupid.”
Getting his money back from the scam
After discovering the scam, Mr Evans reached out to his bank for advice, however, they stated that there was nothing that they could or would do.
He then decided to contact CEL Solicitors for support.
We were able to examine his case and prove that Mr Evans was not negligent, that he had no reason to be suspicious given that the website he initially enquired with looked genuine, that the sign-up process appeared legitimate, and that there were no warnings online about Top Trade Pro at the time of sign-up.
We recovered the full amount lost, plus additional compensation, settling Mr Evans’s case for over £19,000 in total.
Asked for advice when looking to invest in crypto trading, Demi Thomas, Mr Evan’s case handler offers:
“crypto trading is a relatively new area of investing where some fortunate individuals have been able to make an amazing amount of money. It’s important to understand and appreciate that much like gambling, crypto trading can very easily take a downward turn and investors can end up losing all of their money even when investing with a legitimate firm.
“Furthermore, many scammers use the fact that cryptocurrency and crypto trading is new and difficult to understand in order to steal money.
“Much like traditional trading, if you are looking to invest in crypto trading, you should always use a reputable firm licensed to operate in the UK and always verify that the person you are speaking with is a legitimate employee of said firm.”