Criminals have identified cryptocurrencies as a ‘new way of defrauding people’, police warn
Police in the Square Mile are being trained to investigate the criminal use of cryptocurrencies, amid a surge in interest in digital money and widespread concern about its vulnerability to fraudsters and money launderers.
The City of London Police has launched a one-day training course to teach police officers about how criminals might use cryptocurrencies, as well as how to trace and recover such assets.
Mike Betts, head of skills and development at the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Academy, said the surge in popularity had led to “criminals identifying cryptocurrencies as a new way to defraud people and steal their money, and also launder money” and that this was a “growing risk” to the public.
The police said that the course was the first of its kind in the UK.
Square Mile (Flickr)
Cryptocurrencies have become a controversial topic in the Square Mile, with regulators and leading financial minds alike warning that the asset class is open to “nefarious activity”, is unstable and vulnerable to fraud and manipulation.
But that has not stopped big banks and asset managers from stepping up efforts to explore the use of digital currencies, such as ethereum and bitcoin, as well as their underlying blockchain technology.
Financial News reported earlier in July that the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock has set up a working group to investigate ways it can take advantage of the fast-growing market, while banks like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan have taken similar steps.