More than £100,000 has been stolen from people in North Yorkshire following a recent spike in online scams, police warn.

North Yorkshire Police is urging residents to be ‘vigilant’ following a rise in cryptocurrency scams.

According to Action Fraud, more than £105,000 was stolen from 15 people in North Yorkshire in May.

The offences involved Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency scams where victims have agreed to pay ‘advance fees’ in return for the promise of receiving a valuable return on their investment – something which can be used as a ‘hook’ to demand a series of further fees.

This has left victims thousands of pounds out of pocket, it was warned.

Detective Inspector Janine Mitchell, Head of Economic Crime at North Yorkshire Police, said: “This is clearly a very worrying trend and the crimes are having a deep impact on the victims who are mostly aged in their 30s, 40s and 50s.

“They feel like they have been suckered in and that they should have known better than to fall into such a trap, but that’s entirely down to the persuasive tactics used by the scammers.

“Please don’t ever feel pressured into anything that you are not sure of and always remember the wise old saying, ‘if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is’.

“If you want to make investments, we urge you to follow the Action Fraud ‘Take Five to Stop Fraud’ advice to help protect you and your money.”

Other advice offered by North Yorkshire Police is:

  • Always research investments and do not allow anyone to rush you.
  • Be cautious if you are asked to change money into cryptocurrency to invest or make a payment via cryptocurrency. This is often a tactic used by fraudsters
  • Be aware that some investment opportunity approaches can come via social media. Always undertake additional research to check the validity of such an opportunity
  • Fraudsters have been known to hack social media accounts to promote bogus investments. If you are making an investment based on a recommendation from a friend or family member sent via social media, check that this has been sent by them.
  • Scammers will often create professional looking websites and utilise fake business premise locations to give an impression of legitimacy
  • Never let anyone take control of your phone or computer for any reason. A reputable business would never do this
  • Check on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website to see if an investment business is authorised by them

If you think you have been a victim of fraud you should report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre, by visiting or calling 0300 123 2040.