NatWest Adds Crypto Limits As Scams Proliferate

NatWest said on Tuesday it was instituting tighter restrictions on transfers to cryptocurrency exchanges in order to protect consumers against “crypto-criminals” following an increase in crypto-related scams.

The bank said it is bringing in a daily limit of £1,000 and a 30-day payment limit of £5,000 to crypto exchanges to help protect customers from “losing life-changing sums of money”.

The move comes as regulators say consumers are increasingly being targeted by scammers, with largely unregulated cryptocurrencies increasingly playing a part.

A number of start-up founders have also said they were scammed out of millions by crypto-thieves in recent months.


NatWest said consumers lost £329 million to crypto-scams in 2022.

The bank said consumers are often targeted by adverts featuring fake testimonials from well-known celebrities and supposedly successful investors.

They promise high rates of return in exchange for a minimal investment, but many users report having lost their life savings.

Last month internet entrepreneur Ahad Shams detailed his own case on Twitter, in which an apparent gang of crypto-scammers posing as venture-capital investors stole $4 million (£3.3m) from a newly created crypto-wallet during the course of a face-to-face meeting.

Con artists

The method was similar to that used to steal more than $200,000 from entrepreneur Chris Hunter, whose case was reported by The Register, and $90,000 from NFT artist Jacob Riglin, who detailed his story on Twitter.

In each of those three cases the con artists were able to steal large sums from a crypto wallet after viewing it during the course of a face-to-face meeting.

All three said it was unclear how the funds had been swiped from the wallet.

“I’m still unsure how they did it,” Riglin wrote.

Inflation pressure

Calls to the UK financial regulator related to investment scams have nearly tripled over the past five years, according to figures released by the Financial Conduct Authority last month, with fraudsters using inflationary pressures to help target people.

“Scammers are becoming more and more sophisticated, coming up with different tactics, such as impersonation texts or calls, and using the cost of living pressure as a way to tempt investors into false opportunities,” said FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight Mark Steward at the time.

Losses through scams involving crypto from October 2021 to September 2022 amounted to £226m, a 32 percent increase year-on-year, according to figures from UK police unit Action Fraud obtained through a Financial Times freedom of information request last year.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

Recent Posts

Elon Musk Appeals To Advertisers, Backtracks Over Notorious Outburst

Wooing advertisers back? Elon Musk says his remark telling advertisers to “go f--- yourself” did…

12 hours ago

US Urges Netherlands, Japan To Increase Chip Kit Restrictions For China

American official heads to Japan after Dutch meeting, as US seeks to increase restrictions on…

13 hours ago

UK Investigates HPE’s $14bn Acquisition Of Juniper Networks

UK competition regulator begins investigation into the multi billion dollar acquisition of Juniper Networks by…

14 hours ago

Fisker Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

EV maker Fisker files for bankruptcy protection in the US – the second EV venture…

15 hours ago

Nvidia Overtakes Microsoft As Most Valuable Tech Firm

Nvidia dethrones Microsoft as world's most valuable tech firm, in ongoing market capitalisation battle of…

19 hours ago

Apple Drops ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Service

Apple sunsets its buy now, pay later service known as 'Apple Pay Later', and will…

20 hours ago