The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a report revealing that US citizens lost more than $10 billion due to online fraud in 2022, with crypto investment scams accounting for $2.57 billion of that sum. The report shows that despite the predominantly bearish year for the cryptocurrency industry, 2022 was fruitful for criminals who stole nearly $2.6 billion from American consumers using investment schemes related to bitcoin and other digital assets. This is a staggering 185% increase compared to 2021, where such fraud resulted in “just” $907 million.
The FBI report indicates that crypto investment scams saw unprecedented increases in the number of victims and the dollar losses to these investors. Many victims have assumed massive debt to cover losses from these fraudulent investments. The agency disclosed that the most targeted group is people aged 30 to 49, as they are pretty active in the crypto field, while older investors have not yet embraced the asset class.
The report outlined the most common ways in which crypto scammers attack victims. They often lure people into linking their wallets to a fraudulent liquidity mining application and thus steal their funds or hack their social media accounts. Celebrity impersonation is also a popular method, where wrongdoers stream a video of a dubious investment scheme and post the face of a well-known individual to make their project seem legit.
The FBI suggests that consumers should be wary of anyone who claims to have a guaranteed investment opportunity or promises high returns with little or no risk. They also advise people to research the investment opportunity thoroughly before handing over their money. People should also avoid clicking on suspicious links or pop-up ads, which are often used by fraudsters to access personal information.
Romance Crypto Fraud also became highly popular in 2022. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) research revealed that such scams affected thousands of Americans between January 2021 and March 2022, resulting in $185 million siphoned from them. Wrongdoers often pick lonely individuals by pretending they are in love with them. Once gaining their trust, they urge them to invest in a mysterious cryptocurrency project, lying that the significant profits could fund a potential wedding or a romantic holiday.
The FBI report stated that crypto fraudsters sometimes pretend to be real estate professionals or employers of a company that offers investment advice. Instead of giving valuable guidance, though, they try to steal as much from the targets as possible. This can lead to significant losses for investors who are not cautious enough to detect these fraudulent activities.
Investment scams are nothing new and have been around for decades, with new methods of fraud emerging as technology advances. Among the most common investment scams are Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes, and pump-and-dump schemes. Ponzi schemes involve using new investors’ money to pay off previous investors, while pyramid schemes require people to recruit new members to join the scheme. In contrast, pump-and-dump schemes encourage people to buy stocks or digital assets that the scammers promote, causing the price to go up. The scammers then sell their holdings and leave other investors with worthless assets.
Investors must stay alert and aware of the risks associated with investing in any asset class, including cryptocurrencies. Many of the fraudsters behind these investment schemes are experts at using social media and online platforms to create fake credibility and gain victims’ trust. They prey on individuals’ greed and the desire to make a quick buck without conducting proper research and due diligence.
The key to avoiding falling victim to these scams is to remain vigilant and do thorough research before investing any funds. As the FBI report suggests, investors should not believe anyone who promises guaranteed high returns with little to no risk. It is also essential to research investment opportunities thoroughly before parting with any money, whether investing in cryptocurrencies, stocks, or other assets.
To prevent such fraudulent activities, the FBI has suggested that people should always use strong passwords, avoid using public Wi-Fi to access financial accounts, and enable two-factor authentication on all their accounts. People should also ensure that they are using a reputable cryptocurrency exchange, with a solid reputation, and research the company before investing any money.
Fortunately, there are companies that can assist in crypto tracing, such as Cyberclaims. Our brand is a trusted name in the field of cryptocurrency investigations, and they offer a range of services designed to help victims of fraud recover their funds. Cyberclaims uses advanced technology and investigative techniques to trace the flow of cryptocurrency, and they work closely with law enforcement agencies to bring fraudsters to justice. With the rise of cryptocurrency investment scams, consumers should be extra cautious and vigilant when investing in digital assets. By taking the necessary precautions and working with trusted companies like Cyberclaims, you can protect their investments and recover their funds if they fall victim to these fraudulent activities.