Teresa appeared on BBC One’s Dirty Rotten Scammers to warn others about the very convincing scheme, which she hoped would boost her pension pot. She even lost £25,000 which she had borrowed from a generous friend.
Teresa first saw a fake advert on Instagram for the cryptocurrency con – a common tactic which sees scammers impersonating celebrities who have nothing to do with the advert at all.
She said: “I’d not been making any interest on my savings, I saw the advert, and that’s what pulled me in.”
Teresa opened an account and initially invested £250. She said: “I had a phone call within two days from a financial advisor, who was very friendly.
“The £250 became £370. I could see that the trading made money, so why not put more money in?
“So I deposited £5,000 and they matched my amount. So we had instead of my £5,000, £10,000 to invest.
The scammers warned her that it would constitute “money laundering” if the funds were not paid back.
Teresa asked a friend for the cash and sent it off to the group.
The brazen scammers then called to demand more money, saying that she would have to pay £20,000 in tax.
At this point, Teresa was very anxious to get her friend’s money back, and so paid the tax bill up front.
The group called back again to say there was another £23,000 in fees to pay.
Teresa then came to the horrible realisation that the scheme was a con.
She had paid almost £125,000 to the scammers in total.
“In that conversation, I knew that it was a scam”, she said. “It was horrendous.
“I just wanted to disappear from the face of this planet. I knew that the money was gone.
“I consider myself an intelligent person, how did this happen?”
Scammers will often ask for a small initial amount and then gradually ask for larger quantities of cash, as victims become convinced they are genuine.
Teresa had another shock to come during the TV programme.
The BBC show’s team did some digging to find out what personal data about her is available to fraudsters.
Information about her had been exposed in several data breaches, dating back almost a decade to 2012.
The data breaches included passwords, email addresses, phone numbers, job titles and even physical addresses.
As she was told the news, Teresa said: “I’m very grateful that you shared all of that with me.
“I’m shocked, I’m surprised, I’m nervous, but I will act upon everything you have advised me today.”
Investment scams are on the rise, with the promise of high returns on an investment enticing people to hand over cash.
Dirty Rotten Scammers continues tomorrow on BBC One at 10am.