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FBI, House Committee Send Notices About Crypto Fraud

Bitcoin's price began dropping soon after.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Crypto fraud is an issue that both the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and the FBI are looking into. 

The House Committee sent letters to the Department of Treasury, the Federal Trade Commission, the Commodity Future Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission asking for information and documents on what the agencies are doing to combat crypto fraud. The committee also requested similar documentation from five crypto exchanges: Coinbase, FTX, Binance.US, Kraken and KuCoin.

"I launched this investigation because, as cryptocurrencies have exploded in reach, popularity and value, so too has the growth in related fraud and consumer abuse as bad actors have sought to prey upon investors," Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat from Illinois and the chair of the subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, tweeted on Tuesday. 

"As stories of skyrocketing prices and overnight riches have attracted both professional and amateur investors to cryptocurrencies, scammers have cashed in," Krishnamoorthi wrote in the letters. "The lack of a central authority to flag suspicious transactions in many situations, the irreversibility of transactions and the limited understanding many consumers and investors have of the underlying technology make cryptocurrency a preferred transaction method for scammers."

On Monday, the FBI made a public service announcement warning about cyber criminals stealing crypto from decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms. The agency said $1.3 billion in crypto has been stolen from DeFi platforms in the first three months of 2022. It recommends crypto investors research these platforms, ensure they have conducted code audits that identify vulnerabilities, and be aware of any certain investment pools and crowdsourced solutions. 

News of both actions led to a drop in bitcoin's price Tuesday morning, going just below $20,000. Bitcoin has been on a decline since it reached its high of more than $67,000 in November. 

Crypto theft is a common event, with losses totaling more than hundreds of millions of dollars. There are ways for crypto holders to keep their assets secured, but cybercriminals are creative with their schemes, even making use of Apple's AirDrop feature