Many of us look for love on sites like Tinder. Our friends may tell us to be careful, but getting cheated by a financial scam may not be what they have in mind.
We should be as protective of our pocketbooks as our hearts on dating sites and social media. The fact is, Romance crypto scams are among the most common types of online scams and they have soared 30% in the past few years.
One way to steer clear of romance bitcoin scams is to verify the identities of the people we meet online and to be careful if a conversation with a new romantic partner quickly turns to money. However, that’s easier said than done. Just ask the British divorcee who lost the equivalent of $130,000 to a bitcoin scam on Tinder.
Lost Love and Missing Funds
A British man we’ll call Trevor had recently divorced and thought he was ready to give love another chance. Where better to try again than on Tinder? He met a woman who said she was also located in the UK (who knows where she really lives?).
The two couldn’t meet up in person because it was 2020 during the height of the pandemic. Lockdowns provided a convenient excuse for catfishers who faked their identities. She asked him if he was interested in cryptocurrency. Right when this topic was broached, Trevor should have said goodbye, but he didn’t.
Not only did she have an idea for a great crypto investment, but it would benefit humanity. She claimed to know of a sure-fire way to make money–invest in a coronavirus vaccine. She claimed people could buy vaccine tokens with cryptocurrency by making transactions from a debit card.
Could Trevor trust her? Of course. She said her father was a Barclays bank manager. Ironically, Trevor would have a lengthy controversy with Barclay’s bank later on, and no, her story probably isn’t true, but who knows?
Trevor invested hundreds, then thousands, and then tens of thousands into the venture. When the amount rose to $130,000, the scammer was gone. Trevor had not only lost his heart, but he also lost his savings.
The Long and Winding Road to Lone Fund Recovery
Trevor didn’t want the scammer to get away with his money. However, he knew it wasn’t going to be easy. The scammer had the money in a bitcoin wallet and he didn’t know how to get it back. Instead, he felt the bank should compensate him for his losses.
In the UK, if a customer isn’t warned by the bank that they are making unusual withdrawals, the customer can claim that the bank was derelict in its duty to protect their funds. This might not fly with many banks in America and credit card companies, who follow a principle closer to “caveat emptor” let the buyer beware.
However, also in the U.S., there is a concept of banks giving some compensation to people who have fallen prey to “push payment” scams, or who have made transactions under false pretenses.
At first, Barclays Bank wasn’t having it. They said Trevor should have done due diligence. Finally, he scored a partial victory and got half of his money back as a kind of compromise.
However, Trevor wanted to go further and get full fund recovery from Barclays.
He filed a complaint with the Ombudsman who said he was past the deadline. However, he isn’t giving up and keeps petitioning the bank and the ombudsman.
Does Fund Recovery Have to Be So Difficult?
Trevor is ready to fight the uphill battle to get all of his funds back. However, fund recovery doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds in Trevor’s case.
First, he’s asking the banks for compensation rather than going directly after the scammers. The blockchain is daunting for many, but working with crypto recovery experts can help you go right after the source. Why not go where the money is?
However, trying to get fund recovery from banks and an ombudsman isn’t a bad idea. We’d recommend using a multi-tiered approach. This brings us to the second problem of Trevor’s approach.
Second, it sounds as if Trevor is going it alone. This makes the fund recovery long and hard. It’s enough of a challenge, but lone efforts are more frustrating and often a waste time. Instead, it’s a far better idea to work with experts who can map out a strategy for fund recovery success and the technology to unmask crypto scams on the blockchain.