Protecting yourself from cryptocurrency-related scams | News

(Gray News) — 2021 proved to be a banner year for scammers. According to the National Consumers League, losses to fraud hit a 10-year high last year. Cryptocurrency-related deals were one of the fastest growing scams

“All I was trying to do was just do a good thing by helping my church,” said Samuel Woody.

When Woody downloaded an app on his phone for business transactions, he received a call the next day from a third-party claiming his account had been hacked. He said he was caught off guard and quickly gave the caller his personal information. What he didn’t realize was he was turning critical financial info over to scammers.

“I panicked, naïve to what was going on,” Woody added.

Woody said the bad actors convinced him to withdraw $3,800 from two credit union accounts and convert that money into cryptocurrency.

“I got a receipt back and the whole time the manager was telling me I was going to get my money back and I never did,” Woody noted.

Woody eventually found out it wasn’t a manager he was talking to. It was a scam all along. He filed complaints with law enforcement, the BBB, and some federal agencies to get his money back. He did receive a portion of it, but not enough to really make a difference.

“I was really upset, you know. These guys need to be caught because they can do other people like that,” Woody explained.

John Breyault with the National Consumers League added, “Cryptocurrency is, in many ways, the holy grail of payment methods if you’re a scammer.”

Breyault heads up at the National Consumers League. He said scammers prefer cryptocurrency because it’s immediate and not reversible, but the NCL wants to strengthen regulations on financial apps and cryptocurrency exchanges to stop fraud.

“I think we’re really reaching a tipping point where regulators here in Washington are starting to wake up to the fact that these new technologies sound great, but fraudsters know how to use them too and it’s costing American consumers billions of dollars and something needs to be done,” Breyault explained.

Not only are scammers using cryptocurrency to get your money, some pose as brokers to persuade you to invest, but be careful. Experts said to protect your money, search online for the company and cryptocurrency name to make sure it’s legit before investing and be careful of guarantees and big promises. If you’re a victim of a cryptocurrency investment scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission, the Attorney General’s office, and the Better Business Bureau. Your case could result in legal action.

Copyright 2022. Western Mass News (WGGB/WSHM). All rights reserved.