Washington BBB: Cryptocurrency scams totaled near $8M in 2021

BBB study finds lack of regulation and consumer education of cryptocurrency results in dramatic increase in fraud and financial losses.

SEATTLE — In 2021, the Better Business Bureau said it received just fewer than 2,500 complaints about financial losses linked to cryptocurrency scams. Those losses totaled just shy of $8 million.

“We also received just over 1,200 scam checker reports with losses just shy, again, of $8 million,” said Logan Hickle, BBB of Washington public relations and communications manager. “Then, we also received 579 negative reviews from cryptocurrency companies themselves.”

Hickle said the Federal Trade Commission estimated $750 million in cryptocurrency losses in 2021 and in 2020, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center estimated $246 million in losses.

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To protect themselves, Hickle said people need to be aware that there are two common protections that don’t apply to cryptocurrency at the moment, and that’s credit card charge production and FDIC insurance.

Falling victim to a cryptocurrency scam is not much different than long-running scams people have reported to the BBB for several years.

“Someone may message you on social media looking to strike up a relationship and after a few days or weeks of getting to know you, they may say, ‘Hey, I’ve made all this money investing with cryptocurrency, why don’t you invest here and over time you invest more and more?” Hickle said. “You also want to be very very careful if someone is specifically asking you to pay for something in cryptocurrency. That is a huge red flag and no one with the government will ever ask for this form of payment.”

For more cryptocurrency safety reminders, watch the interview in the video player above.

To view the BBB’s report on cryptocurrency scams, click here.

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