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FCA Issues Warning About Blockchain Access UK Impersonation Scam

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City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, has warned that fraudsters are impersonating a genuine firm and offering to recover lost funds for an upfront fee.

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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates the UK’s financial markets, ensuring consumers get a fair deal. One of its key objectives is to protect customers from harm caused by firms that don’t follow the FCA’s rules.

In a recent warning, the FCA has highlighted a ‘Recovery Room’ fraud, where criminals target consumers who have been scammed already or have lost money through failed investments. In this case, the fraudsters have cloned a genuine firm, Blockchain Access UK Ltd, and so appear legitimate to new customers they approach. The scam operation offers to help them recover their lost money – for a fee.

The FCA has reiterated the importance of checking the credentials of firms and individuals offering financial services that you plan to invest with. This can be done through the Financial Services Register.

The Stockport-based firm was previously a registered EMD (Electronic Money Directive) Agent, a type of company that offered payment services on behalf of Blockchain.com, an EMI (Electronic Money Institution) and well-known cryptocurrency exchange. The FCA’s Financial Services Register now says Blockchain Access UK is “no longer registered as an E-money agent of a regulated firm, and can no longer issue electronic money or provide payment services.”

The company’s contact details and company registration number have been used by fraudsters to make their scam more credible, in what is essentially a type of impersonation fraud. Impersonation scams can be difficult to spot, as websites, social media channels, contact details and correspondence may all appear genuine.

Recovery Room scams usually target customers who have lost money already – either from a poorly performing investment or a financial scam. Some Recovery Room scams are even run by the same company that originally defrauded their victims!

Scam and fraud victims often feel embarrassed and stressed, and desperate to get their money back. The scammers prey on this vulnerability, using high-pressure, cold-calling techniques, and claiming to have successfully recovered money for other people in a similar situation. They may place adverts on social media channels, promising to recover your lost money, but without any detail about how this is actually done.

A fee is paid in advance of any work being carried out on your behalf, which may have been described as an administrative fee or tax. You may find that you never see any return or that the fee or tax is actually more than what you lost in the first place.

TLW Solicitors help victims recover compensation across a wide range of scams including romance scams, crypto scams, impersonation scams, investment scams and conveyancing scams. These are all types of Automated Push Payment (APP) fraud – where a customer authorises their bank to transfer money to a particular bank account, believing the transaction to be for a genuine reason. The scammers usually move the money into another bank account within a short space of time, often overseas, making it very difficult to trace and recover. Many people don’t even realise they could be the victim of a scam until it is too late.

Our blogs highlight cases that have made headline news, as well as others that consumers may not be aware of. Many of the articles written have common themes:

  • If an investment seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • With investments, there is no such thing as a guaranteed return, without some level of risk.
  • It is easy to be fooled by clever tricksters, so make sure you double-check all contact details and company details.
  • Be careful what personal or banking information you provide in online forms.
  • Never give anyone remote access to your computer or phone, and do not share login details and passwords.
  • If you have become the victim of fraud, contact Action Fraud and your bank immediately.

Sarah Spruce heads up the APP Fraud Claims team at TLW Solicitors and has extensive knowledge of different types of scams and the process of pursuing a compensation claim to get your money back. She says:

“If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, your bank should carry out an investigation and try to recover the money you have lost. If you disagree with their decision or how they handled your complaint, you can take your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), an independent Government-backed body that resolves complaints between financial institutions, such as banks, and their customers. We have many years’ experience in successfully dealing with ‘no win, no fee’ claims against FOS for our clients.

Even if you feel embarrassed or ashamed about what has happened, get in touch for a no obligation discussion to go through your options. We are helping lots of people in a similar situation recover the compensation they deserve.”

The experienced TLW Solicitors APP Fraud recovery team understands the time limits to be followed, the information needed and the claims and appeals processes. We will deal with any complex legal arguments and defences that your bank may raise and the combination of our experienced team and digital case management systems means that we proactively pursue your claim and aim to get you the best result possible.

If you, your friend, a colleague or relative has been conned into making payments to fraudsters, then please get in touch with our specialist team for a confidential, no-obligation conversation.

You can call us on 0800 169 5925, email info@tlwsolicitors.co.uk or complete one of the forms below.

It is important to get advice as soon as possible as strict time limits can apply. Minimum case values apply.

Meet Ohe 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.

TLW Solicitors pledge to:

  • Always fight your corner.
  • Explain anything you don't understand.
  • Provide full transparency on our charges.
  • Never ask for any upfront payment.
  • Recover the best compensation we can.
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  • Respond quickly to any queries.