(Bloomberg) --

Fraud linked to crypto currencies surged in the first nine months of the year, U.K. Police said, with victims cheated out of more than 146 million pounds ($200 million) so far.

There have been 7,118 reports of fraud related to crypto currency made to the U.K.’s national reporting center for fraud and cyber crime this year, City of London Police said in an emailed statement. The amount of money allegedly lost in 2021 is already 30% more than all of 2020, it added. More than half of victims were between 18 and 45 years old.

“Reports of cryptocurrency fraud have increased significantly over the past few years,” Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Craig Mullish said. “Being online more means criminals have a greater opportunity to approach unsuspecting victims with fraudulent investment opportunities.”

Fraudsters often use a fake celebrity endorsement to lure people in, the police said. About 79% of all complaints that referred to a fake endorsement were tied to crypto currency. 

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