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Spotting cryptocurrency investment scams

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Cryptocurrency has gotten lots of attention as a new way to invest. But here’s the thing: scammers are taking advantage of people’s understanding (or not) of cryptocurrency investments, and how they work. And younger people are losing big.

In fact, the FTC’s new data spotlight shows that, since October 2020, nearly 7,000 people reported losses to bogus cryptocurrency investments, adding up to more than $80 million. People ages 20-49 were more than five times more likely than other age groups to report losing money on those scams. But here’s an even more striking point: people in their 20s and 30s have lost more money on investment scams than on any other type of fraud. And more than half of their reported investment scam losses — $35 million — were in cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency investment scams can happen in many ways, but they’re all full of fake promises and false guarantees. Scammers might post investment sites that look real, but you’ll find you can’t withdraw the money you’ve “invested.” Others pretend to be celebrities — like a would-be Elon Musk — doing giveaways with claims of multiplying any cryptocurrency you send. Scammers also use online dating sites to sweet-talk people into bogus crypto investments in the name of love.

If you’re thinking about investing in cryptocurrency:

  • Research before you invest. Search online for the company and cryptocurrency name, plus “review,” “scam,” or “complaint.”
  • Be wary of guarantees and big promises. Scammers often promise you’ll make money quickly, or that you’ll get big payouts or guaranteed returns. They might offer you free money paid in cash or cryptocurrency — but, even if there’s a celebrity endorsement, don’t buy it. You’ll make money if you’re lucky enough to sell your crypto for more than you paid. Don’t trust people who say they know a better way.
  • Anyone who says you have to pay by cryptocurrency, wire transfer, or gift card is a scammer. If you pay, there’s usually no way to get your money back.

Read more at ftc.gov/cryptocurrency. Need to report a cryptocurrency scam? Visit Reportfraud.ftc.gov.

Scam Tags:  Avoiding Scams

Comments

I was scammed over a year ago. When I realized it, I attempted to stop it. They hacked into my account and got money, then tried to buy crypto currency with it. Once crypto is purchased it pretty much untraceable. I managed to contact the crypto seller who was in London UK. They were already suspicious of the activity and delaying the purchase. The deal was canceled and I got my money back. Unfortunately the price of crypto fluctuates, and in the transaction I lost $100+, but I consider myself fortunate. It could have been thousands! I learned my lesson and will never (hopefully) fall for a scam again!

I was scammed over a year ago. When I realized it, I attempted to stop it. They hacked into my account and got money, then tried to buy crypto currency with it. Once crypto is purchased it pretty much untraceable. I managed to contact the crypto seller who was in London UK. They were already suspicious of the activity and delaying the purchase. The deal was canceled and I got my money back. Unfortunately the price of crypto fluctuates, and in the transaction I lost $100+, but I consider myself fortunate. It could have been thousands! I learned my lesson and will never (hopefully) fall for a scam again!

Thank you for this. So many people trying to hustle us out our money. So sad

Yes i just got hit up by this person who showed big transfers and supposedly had software that never failed. Trying to get me too start with 500 $ on messenger I’m 41 seemed too good too be true. Now she hit vanish mode.

I was just messaged through Facebook messenger by someone claiming to be investing in crypto and having guaranteed profits… wanting me to invest 600$ but wants it in Bitcoin that made me second guess and when I said I wanted to do some research they really pressed to invest now not to wait and that really turned me off ..

Others pretend to be celebrities like a would-be Elon Musk doing giveaways with claims of multiplying any cryptocurrency you send. You’ll make money if you’re lucky enough to sell your crypto for more than you paid.

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