Cryptocurrency scams have cost consumers over $1 billion since 2021, FTC says

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The amount of money paid into cryptocurrency scams continues to skyrocket.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said today that it believes(Opens in a new window) consumers lost over $1 billion to scams between January 2021 and March 2022.

The estimate is based on fraud reports the FTC received from 46,000 victims. The numbers are a huge increase from the six-month period between October 2020 and March 2021, when the agency logged on(Opens in a new window) $80 million in cryptocurrency losses from 7,000 victims.

(Picture: FTC)

Fraud reports suggest that “cryptocurrency is quickly becoming the payment of choice for many scammers, with approximately one in four dollars reported lost to fraud paid in cryptocurrency,” the FTC wrote.(Opens in a new window) in a blog post.

The victims also lose a large amount of money. The median loss reported among individuals was $2,600. “The top cryptocurrencies people said they used to pay scammers were Bitcoin (70%), Tether (10%) and Ether (9%),” the FTC added.

The rise in scams involving cryptocurrencies came as Bitcoin saw its value surge to a high of $64,000 in 2021. The FTC also notes that cryptocurrency transfers generally cannot be undone, giving fraudsters another reason to exploit the technology.

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(Picture: FTC)

Most of the money, at $575 million, was lost to scams on fake cryptocurrency investment opportunities designed to trick users into handing over their funds. Another $185 million was lost to romance scams, involving fake online dating profiles manipulating victims into investing in dodgy cryptocurrency schemes. “The median individual reported loss of crypto to romance scammers is an incredible $10,000,” the FTC added.

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The news is an important reminder to be on the lookout for scams on the internet, especially social media. “Almost half of people who said they lost crypto to a scam since 2021 said it started with an ad, post or message on a social media platform,” the regulator added. American. “The top platforms identified in these reports were Instagram (32%), Facebook (26%), WhatsApp (9%) and Telegram (7%).”

To stay safe, it’s best to avoid investment opportunities or dating profiles that sound too good to be true. You can also check out our guide for more tips.

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