An Irish teacher has warned others not to fall for a sophisticated crypto scam that cost him tens of thousands.
Terry began investing in Bitcoin last year through a website that seemed “above board”.
The fraudsters used several tricks to appear completely legitimate and professional, including allowing Terry to withdraw his money at one point.
Read more: South Dubliners warned about scammers calling door-to-door
The teacher spoke about his experience on Claire Byrne Live and said everything started after he paid an initial €250 fee to create an account.
Terry said: “I lodged the €250 and they told me once it was lodged that the account is up and running and I could lodge in whatever I want at whatever time I want, and there’d be an account online where I’d be able to see my investment increasing.
“The first investment I put in was €5,000 and you could see it growing quite well over weeks.
“The man I was talking to on the phone assured me that everything was legit and he invoiced me for everything I had lodged.
“At that stage, the Bitcoin value was increasing and increasing quite steadily. He suggested that if I had a few quid more to put in so I put in another €5,000.”
Terry said the money started increasing “very noticeably” and he was contacted by the company again.
He said: “He came back and rang me and asked me how did it progress and I said ‘so far so good’.
“He asked me if I’d be in the position to lodge more as it was increasing and he foresees Bitcoin doubling in value.
“I put in another €5,000 but when I put it in they had changed their bank account details so at that stage I started to smell a rat.”
Due to his suspicious, Terry requested to withdraw €5,000 from his account.
He received this money back within 3-4 working days along with the relevant paperwork, putting his mind at ease.
Terry said: “I settled again and everything was receipted again, no problems.
“I proceeded. Everything that I transferred was invoiced, receipted and dated as stated. You could see it on the account growing substantially.”
About six months down the line, Terry requested to withdraw half of the money as he had some expenses he wanted to cover.
“They were saying that Bitcoin was still increasing and if I could leave it for another month or six weeks that I would substantially get more out of it and that I’d be able to withdraw the whole lot,” he said.
After some debate, he decided to wait the extra time but got into difficulty when he tried to get his money after a few weeks.
He said; “Unfortunately, when I went to withdraw my money they started looking for more, what they called an exit tax.
“Like what we would call Capital Gains Tax here. Naturally I got onto solicitors and guards at that stage.
“Reluctantly I took a chance on paying the few quid exit tax as they called it to see.
“Prior to that, I made sure I got written confirmation and I was talking to the CEO of the company on the phone.”
Terry got paperwork from the company that said everything was in order and he would receive back his funds.
However, several months later he “has not received a penny”.
He said they stopped responding to his emails, disconnected the phone lines and have appeared to shut down the website.
The matter is currently under investigation by gardai but Terry said he is “expecting nothing back”.
“The frightening thing is we are all just one click away,” he said.
Read more: Warning to Irish people thinking about investing in cryptocurrency
Read more:Fake HSE Covid text scamming people out of money
Sign up to the Dublin Live Newsletter to get all the latest Dublin news straight to your inbox