Lili was celebrating her birthday when she realised she had been scammed. The 52-year-old Londoner was enjoying high tea with her daughter, who works at a hedge fund, when talk turned to a vexing financial problem. Lili, not her real name, had started trading cryptocurrencies in March 2021, under the guidance of friends she had met online.
At one point, she had been up $1.4mn. But a bad trade later that year had obliterated most of her gains. Still, she had about $300,000 in one of her crypto trading accounts, close to the total amount she had invested. Put off by the losses, Lili was ready to quit. To liquidate her remaining tokens and cash in, Lili was told she needed to pay some tax. But when she tried to wire the money to the trading platform, it bounced back.