44-year-old British businessman Naveed Al-Saghir is a graduate and masters in computer science. He also successfully runs his own home theater installation business in the North West of England.
After a lifetime of hard work, regular savings and wise investments, earlier this year he saved the equivalent of 3.6 million BRL in bitcoins.
However, he was scammed by online fraudsters who stole all his money.
“It ruined my life, changed for the worse, and I need to warn people: If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone,” Naveed says.
He now has a mission.
Struggling to cope with the emotional damage of seeing her plans fizzle out with a ruined financial future, she wants to share her story in an effort to prevent others from becoming victims.
“I’ve been running my business for 20 years and have always been very careful about money,” he explains.
“Whether it was for my work or my life, I made every penny worth. But I made the wrong decision.”
Naveed was the victim of a type of fraud known as an ‘investment scam’.
This happens when victims are deceived into giving money to people who offer fake but often disguised investments with the promise of big profits.
“I was watching YouTube videos when I came across an ad offering an opportunity to invest in stocks and filled out a form asking for more information.”
“The next day, I got a call from someone who introduced themselves as a customer service agent and paid $350 ($1,800) to start investing.”
“The next day they called me again, this time there was someone who described himself as my account manager and gave me a username and password for a very attractive business website.”
Naveed paid his first payment at the end of May. This was the first act of a nightmare that would cause his financial collapse.
The scammers soon made him believe new lies, promising even greater profits. When he began to lose money, he was convinced that he would get it back in full and in larger quantities.
At the end of August, Naveed handed over $25,000 (131,000 BRL) and 14.25 BTC, worth about $690,000 (BRL 3.6 million), according to the cryptocurrency’s current value.
“I still can’t remember how they managed to trick me,” Naveed says. “I do not know”.
In the UK, several NGOs have called for fraudulent advertising to be included in the Online Security Act, which will soon be considered in the British Parliament.
The Institute for Monetary Policy and Mental Health has warned that millions of Internet users, especially those with mental health issues, are at risk of losing money or sensitive personal information to fraudsters.
Lisa Forte, who works for cybersecurity firm Red Goat Cyber Security, says that not only is Naveed unlikely to get some of her money back, but that she will see justice served.
“Even if the police start an investigation, which is unlikely, even if they find the criminals responsible, which is highly unlikely, what should they do when the criminals are in another country where the British police have no jurisdiction?”
“There is practically no case to go back to with regards to bitcoin. It is a form of currency that operates outside the purview of ‘normal’ money and so, because it is unregulated, consumer protection simply does not exist.”
Forte recommends three things people can do to try to protect themselves and prevent their family and friends from becoming victims.
“First, research everything you do to position your assets. There are many reliable sources.
secondly, understand what bitcoin is, as it should be in any investment; Research how it works and learn the pros and cons.
Third, if someone says that they can use their investment to make a big profit in a short period of time, this is the time to start the alarm. Legitimate investment platforms don’t make that kind of promise.”
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