Police on Thursday warned the public to beware of online fraud as they investigate a complaint by a 49-year-old man that he had been defrauded out of €44,500 he believed was invested in cryptocurrencies.

The complainant told Limassol police that on May 29, he had received a message on social media from a woman he did not know. She told him that she invested in crypto and persuaded him that she could help him make a profit from such an investment.

Between June 9 and 25, the man sent a total of €50,500 from a local bank account to his account on a crypto exchange, and from there to a crypto app suggested by the woman.

Then, between July 7 and 18, he withdrew and transferred €6,000 from the app to his crypto exchange account. But when he tried to withdraw another €5,000 on July 31, he was asked to pay VAT and fees.

Suspecting a swindle, he did not pay the money requested. But unable to withdraw his money and having lost all contact with the woman, he filed a complaint with Limassol CID saying he was missing €44,500.

Police urged the public to be particularly alert and should they receive a suspicious message or request, to contact the person they had received it from through an alternative channel for confirmation.

If they have taken any actions at the behest of others, they are urged to check their accounts and change their passwords. If they see anything suspicious, they should immediately contact police.