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Café Owner Loses £100k to Crypto Scammers

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Mick Mansell had been saving to buy a flat for himself and his children for seven years before investing in a scam crypto site.

A café owner and father based in Edinburgh has shared his story about being targeted by a cryptocurrency scam that cost him £100,000.

Mick Mansell, the owner of the Lodge Coffee House in Morningside, Edinburgh, took to Facebook to share his story and warn others about the dangers of investing in cryptocurrency.

£100k Crypto Scam

In a post on the Lodge Coffee House Facebook page, Mr Mansell shared that he had been saving for seven years,“wearing cheap sweatshirts and jeans, to save money for my children and their future” with the intention of ultimately purchasing a flat for himself and his children.

In January 2023, he found a cryptocurrency investment into which he did “due diligence” and invested his savings of £100,000. However, when it came to withdrawing his investment, which he claims the company told him had made impressive returns, the funds never materialised and, after weeks of investigation, Mr Mansell found out it had all been a scam.

He finished the post by stating that he was not looking for sympathy or financial gain but to warn others that “anybody can be anybody on the internet”. It is unclear with which firm the investment was made or what “investigations” have been done into the case. A friend of Mr Mansell has set up a JustGiving page.

If you are considering investing in cryptocurrency, it is essential that you understand how to identify a legitimate scheme and avoid falling victim to scammers.

Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • Be wary of anyone who contacts you out of the blue about investments, whether it is via social media, email, phone, or messaging apps.
  • Check the legitimacy of any adverts you see online by cross-referencing the company’s details with its website and the City watchdog, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) register.
  • Use the FCA register to ensure the firm you are dealing with is not a clone firm.
  • Seek professional financial advice before making any investment decisions. Take your time and carefully consider your actions.
  • Never give someone you have never met access to your bank account, crypto wallet, or devices.

It is also essential to be aware that, just because you have identified and reported a scam, it does not always mean the fraudsters will leave you alone. In some cases, scammers may try to contact you again, with offers of “safer investments” or the chance to recoup your losses, as a ploy to access even more of your money.

If you find yourself the unfortunate victim of a cryptocurrency investment scam, do not be ashamed – these scams are sophisticated and increasingly common, with investors losing £266 million to scammers in 2022 alone.

The first thing you should do after detecting a scam is report it to your bank, the police, and Action Fraud. Banks in the UK have a duty of care to provide safeguards and procedures to prevent this type of fraud, known as Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud, from occurring in the first place, such as security questions, account monitoring, and blocking suspicious transactions.

If your bank refuses to award compensation following a cryptocurrency scam and you believe it has not fulfilled its obligations, you can have your case independently reviewed by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), a Government-backed body responsible for investigating disputes between financial institutions and their customers. FOS will consider all the information presented to them and return a fair and reasonable decision.

Sarah Spruce, Head of the Fraud Claims team at TLW Solicitors, commented:

“Mr Mansell’s story is, unfortunately, far from a one-off and it proves that, even though he did his research and due diligence, the scammers are still finding ways to trick would-be investors.

I advise anyone considering investing in cryptocurrency, or any other investments, to speak to an independent financial adviser beforehand. Although it may feel like an unnecessary expense, it may stop you from losing your life savings. Anyone already targeted by scammers can speak to a member of my team for a no-obligation assessment of their case.”

If you, a friend, family member or colleague, have lost money to a cryptocurrency investment APP scam, get in touch to see if we can help.

TLW Solicitors has years of experience dealing with FOS cases and will deal with your claim with efficiency and attention to detail. We understand the timescales, processes and intricacies involved in a FOS application, and our sophisticated case management systems mean you will always be kept up to date with the progress of your case.

We work on a no-win, no-fee basis, so contact us for a no-obligation, confidential conversation about your case. Call us on 0800 169 5925, email info@tlwsolicitors.co.uk or fill out one of the forms below.

Getting advice as soon as possible is essential, as strict time limits can apply.

Meet Our Team

Meet Sarah, who heads up our experienced Authorised Push Payment Fraud Claims team.

Sarah and her colleagues are on hand to help with your claim.

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