The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealed that over the past year, Americans parted ways due to over $10 billion in online fraud.
Malefactors siphoned $2.57 billion of that amount through cryptocurrency investment schemes.
Crypto scams on the rise
Despite the mostly bearish year for the cryptocurrency industry, 2022 was fruitful for criminals. She steel nearly $2.6 billion from American consumers leveraging investment plans related to Bitcoin and other digital assets. In contrast, in 2021, one such scam resulted in “only” $907 million.
“Crypto investment scams resulted in an unprecedented increase in the number of victims and dollar losses for these investors. Many victims have taken on massive debts to cover losses from these fraudulent investments,” the FBI report said.
The agency said the most targeted group is people aged 30 to 49. Previous studies have shown that such individuals are quite active in the crypto space, while older investors have yet to embrace the asset class.
The FBI outlined the most common methods used by crypto scammers to target victims. They often trick people into linking their wallets to a rogue liquidity mining application in order to steal their funds or hack their social media accounts.
Celebrity impersonation is also a popular technique: bad guys stream a video of a shady investment plan and post a well-known person’s face to make their project look legitimate. Needless to say, the celebrities did not give their permission to appear in the ad while victims who join the scam often lose their money.
As a result, crypto scammers sometimes pose as real estate professionals or the employer of a company that offers investment advice. However, instead of providing valuable clues, they try to steal as much of the targets as possible.
Romance Crypto Fraud also became very popular
A Federal Trade Commission (FTC) study. revealed that such scams affected thousands of Americans between January 2021 and March 2022, resulting in their being deprived of $185 million.
Malefactors often seek out lonely people by pretending to be in love with them. Once they gain her trust, they urge her to invest in a mysterious cryptocurrency project, lying that the substantial profits could fund a potential wedding or romantic vacation.
“Victims of love scams learn the hard way that the heart isn’t that smart. Her search for love makes her easy prey for devious people who scam her of their money. They set up an elaborate scam that will make their victims swoon, and by the time the victim realizes it, they’ll be thousands of dollars poor,” the Bankless Times said.
This type of scam seems to be quite popular in the UK. A Briton whose name has not been released lost Bitcoin worth $200,000 last year after chatting online with a woman named Jia. The latter advised him to allocate the assets to a suspicious app, assuring that the proceeds would be great. Shortly thereafter, the man found that his balance was “balanced” while the woman cut off contact with him.
A British pensioner living in Nottinghamshire separated with $207,000 that year after falling victim to a similar scam. She fell in love with a person who introduced himself as a US Army surgeon and asked her to transfer money to a specific bitcoin wallet. Her bank and the local police recovered more than half the sum.