NatWest customers who use the mobile app to manage their finances are being warned of cryptocurrency scams.

The high street bank has said it has prevented millions of pounds from being sent to “crypto-criminals”.

NatWest said it has received a “record number” of reports about such scams between January and March 2021 and has directed a message to mobile app users.

The frauds typically involve criminals posting adverts online carrying a bogus celebrity endorsement on a fake website with an article promoting cryptocurrency.

Investors are asked to complete a contact form and the criminal uses these details to follow up with a telephone call.

During the call the fraudster, posing as a cryptocurrency trader, helps the victim open a wallet with a cryptocurrency trading platform and in the process persuades the victim to install remote access software onto their computer.

Jason Costain, head of fraud prevention at NatWest, said: “We have prevented millions of pounds from being sent to crypto-criminals who are exploiting the high levels of interest in the currency. However, consumers should always be alert, especially to the use of fake websites and bogus celebrity endorsements.”

NatWest has shared a number of tips to avoid a cryptocurrency scam:

– If you have been contacted by a “trader” promising large profits and offering to help you invest in cryptocurrency, this is a likely to be a scam.

– Always have control of your cryptocurrency wallet. If you did not set the wallet up yourself or a cryptocurrency trader persuaded you to download remote access software onto your computer, this could be a sign of a scam. You should stop making payments immediately.

– Follow FCA advice and check the cryptocurrency firm you are dealing with has been approved by them.