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Fraudsters are making millions by conning people into investing in rare whiskies which don’t exist or have already been bought by someone else.

Experts have warned the rise in whisky cask investment schemes are ripe for exploitation by con artists and the fraudulent market now worth more than £150million.

They’ve said no authority is taking control of the flourishing industry, which is also being used by criminal gangs to launder money.

Blair Bowman Scotch Whisky expert.

Young people are being targeted online with Instagram adverts claiming guaranteed returns in an effort to get them to part with their cash.

As whisky matures over time it can become more valuable, meaning a barrel bought for £1000 today could be worth much more in
20 years’ time.

Vicky Bruce, owner of whisky verification firm Casknet, has produced a report into the scale of fraud across the industry and said the trend will damage the vital Scottish sector.

She said: “In some cases, people have invested millions of pounds into whisky that doesn’t exist or they have never seen.”

According to Vicky’s research, firms and individual brokers are using a range of methods to trick people into investing, including selling counterfeit casks which don’t contain the whisky the sellers claim, selling casks that don’t exist and selling the same cask to multiple people.

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