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Crypto Scams Have Cost Consumers More Than $1 Billion, FTC Says

Most of the losses stem from bogus investment scams.

An illustration of someone dangling a Bitcoin on a fishing pole over a hole, trying to tempt another person to grab for it.
The FTC says people continue to lose their crypto to scams.
Getty

Crypto scams have cost consumers more than $1 billion since the start of 2021, according to a new Federal Trade Commission analysis.

The numbers, which are based on losses reported by consumers from January 2021 through March 2022, also show that crypto is becoming the payment of choice for many scammers, accounting for about one in every four dollars lost to fraud, the FTC says.

Most of the cryptocurrency fraud stemmed from fake investment schemes, which totaled $575 million in reported losses. The scams often promise huge returns in exchange for a crypto investment, but instead people report losing all of their crypto.

Consumers also reported losing their crypto to romance scams, where a love interest convinces them to invest in a crypto scam. Also big are government- and business-impersonation scams, which target consumers by telling them their money is at risk because of a fraud or government investigation and that the only way to protect it is to convert it to cryptocurrency. 

The report also shows that many of the scams begin on social media. Nearly half of consumers who reported a cryptocurrency related scam said it started with an ad, post or message on a social media site, the FTC says.