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I made a bitcoin investment with a company online. The first return sent back to me was fine but the second has issues. They sent me an email like the first time stating that the money was sent but I never received it. I sent them an email to complain, they responded saying that they were investigating. After a day they got back to me saying that the problem is not with them but my bitcoin is "in limbo". Now I need to pay $175 to a bit wallet of theirs to reverse the money back to my account.

How should I handle this?

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    How much was your original investment? What country and locality are you in? What country and locality does the company appear to be in?
    – Freiheit
    Jan 27 at 18:48
  • Which company ?
    – marcelm
    Jan 27 at 20:13
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    @marcelm You can check the edit history, the site is bit-traders.uk
    – MonkeyZeus
    Jan 27 at 20:31
  • @MonkeyZeus You're right! Makes me wonder why that was edited out; seems rather important in determining whether this was a scam or not.
    – marcelm
    Jan 27 at 20:40
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    @marcelm This is currently a Hot Network Question so moderators didn't want a scam site to garner more traffic than necessary. It will probably be added back in at some point.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Jan 27 at 20:58
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Most likely that the whole company is a scam. You "invest" some money, then they return a small amount to convince you they are real, and get you to send them more money. Then they stop returning money, and ask you for $175 more to keep going. They will be very good at extracting the largest possible money from you until you give up.

I recommend to readers to go to their website and have a good laugh. For a scam site, it is really funny. (You wouldn't expect to see Lorem Ipsum on an investment site). They basically tell you on their front page that they are a scam site.

PS. Check out their filing history at https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/12027306/filing-history and look at the "notice for compulsory strike-off". They would have been struck off on Jan. 17th with all of their company (probably worth zero) going to the crown.

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    Agreed, and to therefore make this specific: you should stop contacting them in any way, don't respond to their messages and don't give them any more money by any route. Contact your local law enforcement or and/or the fraud department of your bank to see if there is any way to reclaim your original money, but I would not hold out hope that there is. I hope you didn't have too much invested.
    – Vicky
    Jan 27 at 11:26
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    they do seem to actually be listed on the companies house register, which is somewhat surprising to me given how blatantly obvious a scam website it is find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/…
    – llama
    Jan 27 at 19:40
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    @llama Being a real company doesn't mean it's not a scam
    – user253751
    Jan 27 at 19:44
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    @user253751 which part of "blatantly obvious scam website" was unclear?
    – llama
    Jan 27 at 19:45
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    If the web site is the real one for the company... The 'about us' is pretty funny too: 'bit-traders.uk is a legally registered' and 'bit-traders.uk is a legitimately enrolled' (emphasis mine)... Real companies don't often feel the need to point out that they are legal and legitimate. Jan 27 at 21:46
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It is obviously a fake business. Or at best, completely incompetent.

Domain

The UK registrar of domains says it was registered in March last year and says

Nominet was not able to match the registrant's name and/or address against a 3rd party source on 26-Mar-2020

That isn't good

Website

Although the business claims to have been started in 2019 and the website's domain was registered 10 months ago, the website contains a lot of nonsense you might only expect in an early partially-completed draft that would not be published by anyone competent.

The front page says

Strengths of Successful Businesses
Randomised words which don't look even slightly believable. If you are going to use a passage of Lorem Ipsum, you need to be sure there isn't an embarrassing hidden in the middle of text.

and

The chunk standard of Lorem Ipsum used since the 900s is reproduced below

Lorem ipsum is nonsense text used by page layout designers to give some idea of what a page would look like, but when you don't yet have the real text available.

Their about page has

SITE NAME Site Slogan Here

and

Designed and developed by [blank space]

That isn't good.

Their FAQ includes

Which e-currencies do you accept?
We accept e-currencies.

It looks like a hasty and lazy job - not good.

Address

The street address on their webpage is an address occupied by a school (e.g. check google maps and use the streetview feature to examine the frontage)

That isn't good.

Company registration

Their record at Companies House says

Company status Active — Active proposal to strike off

(!) Confirmation statement overdue First statement date 30 May 2020 due by 13 June 2020

That is a sign of a badly run company

Their filing history shows

17 Nov 2020 First Gazette notice for compulsory strike-off
31 May 2019 Incorporation. Statement of capital on 2019-05-31, GBP 6,000

So that's a tiny business allegedly started with £6000 capital which is about to be struck off the company register.

That's a strong indication of a fraudulent (or just very incompetent) business


The above easy and free checks take only a few minutes and are ones anyone can do before sending money to strangers.

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    Well, my business has £100 capital. Had to create it to put an app on the App Store (mostly a hobby). Must remember to fill a form every April.
    – gnasher729
    Jan 27 at 22:40
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This is a very, very obvious scam. The company will keep asking you for money and you will never get anything back but perhaps a tiny payment here or there to keep you on the hook.

How is it so obvious this is a scam? Well, they offer to pay you 20% to borrow your money for 24 hours. There are only two ways someone would make such an offer. The obvious one is that they're a scammer and they're not going to pay you the 20%. Is there any other?

Yes, there is only one other possibility -- they're a complete and utter imbecile. After all, you can get a cash advance on a credit card for about 5% per month. Why would you offer to pay someone 20% to borrow their money for just a day and actually pay it to them?

So while there is a remote possibility that they're utter imbeciles, even if that was true you'd be quite foolish to invest your money with utter imbeciles. For all practical purposes, this obviously has to be a scam. Nobody would actually borrow your money at such a rate unless they were in some dire emergency they couldn't plan around or something. Nobody would do it as a regular business offering. It's obviously much worse than literally every other way they could get money,

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If it looks too good to be true, then it isn’t true

Does anyone think 20% profit EVERY DAY is reasonable? That’s the standard plan,and their worst performing!

The FAQ include this gem “It's very important for you to know that we are real traders and that we invest members' funds on major investments.”

We are really real and doing real things. Actual real traders will tell you a lot more about what they are doing

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    So you invest £100, next day they pay you £20 profit and ask you to invest more money. You invest another £1000, next day they pay you £220 profit and ask you to invest more money. Third day you invest your live savings of £10,000. That's when they start developing computer problems so your £2,220 profit somehow gets stuck in the system. The next day your profits are £4,440 and they ask you to pay £1,000 in fees to get that money - and whether you pay or not, that's the last thing you here from them.
    – gnasher729
    Jan 28 at 0:11

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