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Crypto scams conned thousands of people out of over $1 billion since 2021, the most of any type of currency, according to new FTC report

Business Insider logo Business Insider 2022-06-04 salarshani@businessinsider.com (Sarah Al-Arshani)
DeFi scams make up a majority of the fraud in cryptocurrency. Vladimir Kazakov/Getty Images © Vladimir Kazakov/Getty Images DeFi scams make up a majority of the fraud in cryptocurrency. Vladimir Kazakov/Getty Images
  • More than 46,000 people fell prey to crypto scams since the beginning of 2021, according to the Federal Trade Commission
  • They collectively lost more than $1 billion, the FTC said in a new report.
  • About half the scams started on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook.

More than 46,000 people reported losing over $1 billion in cryptocurrency scams since the start of 2021, according to the Federal Trade Commission

Crypto accounted for about one out of every four dollars reported lost, the most out of any other payment method, the FTC said in a report released Friday. 

The median individual loss was $2,600, and the top cryptocurrencies used to pay scammers included Bitcoin, Tether, and Ether, the FTC said.

About half of the people who reported being scammed said it started with an ad, post, or message on a social media platform. Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Telegram all topped the list of social media sites reported as the source of the scams. 


Gallery: 5 Ways Crypto Needs To Become More Secure, According to Experts (GOBankingRates)

The majority of the scams were investment-related fraud, with the FTC reporting $575 million in losses for bogus investment opportunities since 2021. Romance-related cons were the second most common type of scams. 

The reported losses in 2021 were nearly sixty times more than what was reported in 2018. According to the FTC, since crypto isn't centralized in a bank, there's no entity to report fraud or suspicious activity to, and the transactions can't be reversed. 

The FTC shared some advice to help people avoid future scams, including staying clear of guaranteed profits and big returns: "No cryptocurrency investment is ever guaranteed to make money, let alone big money.

Additionally, the FTC warned "nobody legit will require you to buy crypto currency," and to "never mix online dating and investment advice.

"If a new love interest wants to show you how to invest in crypto, or asks you to send them crypto, that's a scam," the FTC said.

 
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