Consumer Alert: BBB Warns of Rising Risk from Cryptocurrency Scams


According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), cryptocurrency and investment scams are the most common type of fraud in the United States. In their annual report on the biggest scams of 2023, based on 67,000 reports, the BBB found that scammers have become increasingly creative in their methods of cheating investors out of their money.

The report states that around 90% of Americans who were targeted by crypto and investment scams in the past year ended up losing money. The median amount lost was $3,800, but some victims have reported losing much more. CBS News National Consumer Investigative Correspondent Anna Werner explained that scammers often contact their victims through social media, video games, or text messages, claiming that they have made a lot of money through their cryptocurrency investments. The conversation quickly turns into an ask for money once the victim responds.

Unregulated investment markets, including cryptocurrency, have long been criticized by federal regulators and consumer advocates for being vulnerable to fraud. As more people became interested in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, solana, and ethereum, they poured money into these digital assets. However, this also led to an increase in scams. According to a report by Forbes, cryptocurrency has been a lucrative but risky investment.

FTX, once the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, collapsed in 2022 due to an $8 billion fund shortage and allegations that the former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, had used customer money to support it. This incident highlights the need for investors to be cautious and informed when dealing with cryptocurrencies.

Reports have revealed that billions of dollars have been lost to hackers and scammers in the cryptocurrency market. In California, a 70-year-old woman filed a lawsuit against her employer, Chase bank, after she was cheated out of $720,000 in a crypto scam.

The BBB’s 2023 list of financial risks ranks employment scams as the second most dangerous. These scams involve convincing victims that they have been hired by a company and need to provide personal information. In reality, the scammers steal this information. The median amount lost to employment scams last year was $1,995.

The third most dangerous scam, according to the BBB, is online purchase scams. Scammers trick victims into buying items from fake websites but never deliver the goods. On average, victims lost $71 to these scams last year.

In conclusion, it is important for individuals to be cautious and informed when dealing with cryptocurrencies and investment opportunities. The BBB suggests that individuals research and verify the legitimacy of any investment before handing over their money. As for employment and online purchase scams, it is crucial to be cautious of providing personal information and to only make purchases from reputable sources.

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