Over the past year, cryptocurrency fraud has increased by 32% in the U.K. This is part of a larger “fraud epidemic” that began during the pandemic as people moved their financial activities online, according to a Financial Times report. Crypto-related losses totaled £226 million (or $272 million) from October 2021 to September this year, up 32% from October 2020 to September 2021.
The FT report calls the figures part of a more significant wave of fraud that has increased during the pandemic, according to the financial services association U.K. Finance, with copy generally rising 8% to £1.3 billion, or $1.5 billion, in 2021.
The news comes shortly after reports that Capital Block conducted its Freedom of Information (FOI) request to find that the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority received 7,287 reports of crypto asset fraud between July last year and June 2022, a 45% increase on the same period between 2020 and 2021.
“That the world’s financial centres do not yet have effective crypto regulation is shocking. Crypto is here to stay and needs to be uniformly regulated internationally and treated like any other financial asset, such as stocks and shares,” said Tim Mangnall, CEO of Capital Block.
These findings mirror recent findings by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) in the U.S., which said earlier this month that 40% of the complaints it receives about cryptocurrencies are due to fraud and scam reporting.
“Our analysis of consumer complaints suggests that bad actors are using crypto assets to defraud the public,” CFPB Director Rohit Chopra said earlier this month.