A 75-year-old woman is warning others of the dangers of an online scam that has cost her her life savings.
Frances Foster, from Plymouth, lost £11,000 to a bogus bitcoin company she saw promising high returns.
She said someone from the firm even called her in December to wish her a “happy Christmas”, adding it showed how she was taken in by the scam.
Ms Foster said she was telling the story to “help someone not do what I did”.
‘It’s been awful’
The hospital ward clerk clicked on a bogus advert on the MSN news website last year for LTC Markets, which claimed to be based in Switzerland.
After first paying £250, she went on to make thousands of pounds in further payments.
She said: “It’s been awful. I sent my first amount of money to them in September and now £11,000 is all gone.”
She said she had contacted her bank and fraud charities, including ActionFraud, but said she was not hopeful of seeing her money again.
She said: “I can’t do anything about it but maybe I can help someone else not to do what I’ve done.”As everybody has told me: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
A decentralised virtual currency, or bitcoin, can be produced or “mined” by computers solving complex algorithms.
The Financial Conduct Authority said bitcoin was an “unregulated product” in the UK.
MSN owner Microsoft said it was “working internally and with our partners and agencies to address the techniques scammers use to deceive people so that we can detect, block and remove fraudulent advertisements more effectively”.
It added: “In the meantime, we urge customers to remain vigilant and only engage with brands they trust and recognise.”