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FBI reports massive surge in cryptocurrency investment scams

FBI reports massive surge in cryptocurrency investment scams

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TL;DR

  • The FBI reports a massive increase in crypto investment scams, with losses soaring to $3.94 billion in 2023.
  • Crypto scams now account for 86% of all investment fraud losses in the U.S.
  • Romance and phishing scams are the most common, tricking victims out of hundreds of millions.

Last year, the crypto world was also the playground for some of the slickest scammers out there, according to the FBI’s latest report. The numbers are in, and they’re not pretty: a whopping $3.94 billion vanished into the ether (not the Ethereum kind) thanks to investment scams, making up an eye-watering 86% of all investment fraud losses across the U.S.

Now let’s go into the details. Investment fraud is old news, but when crypto gets involved, the game changes. We’re talking about a 53% jump in losses from 2022 to 2023, climbing from $2.57 billion to nearly $4 billion. If you’re doing the math, that’s a lot of vacations, retirements, and dreams flushed down the drain.

The allure of high returns in the crypto market has proven too tempting for many, leading them down a path paved with deceit. The FBI has been tracking these trends, noting an unsettling rise in victims falling prey to crypto-centric cons. The main stage for these shenanigans? The Internet Crime Complaint Center, where tales of digital woe are documented.

Imagine this: you’re online, and you meet someone. Things get serious. They’re perfect, except for one tiny detail—they’re a figment of some scammer’s imagination. Welcome to the world of romance scams, where love is the bait and crypto is the catch. In 2023 alone, $374 million was swiped right out of victims’ wallets through these heartless hustles.

But there’s more. Phishing scams—those pesky attempts to fish out your financial info—hooked over 324,000 unsuspecting souls, netting nearly $295 million in stolen crypto. It’s not just a U.S. problem; it’s a global crisis. Down Under, Australians were parted from their crypto assets to the tune of $146.9 million in 2022, up a staggering 162.4% from the previous year.

Chainalysis has been keeping tabs on these criminal activities. Their findings? While the overall haul from crypto scams dipped in 2023, the methods have evolved. Approval phishing and romance scams are on the rise, showing that these crooks are getting craftier by the minute.

Now, for a glimmer of hope in this shadowy saga. Efforts to combat these scams are bearing fruit. For instance, Tether and OKX, two big names in the crypto space, teamed up with the U.S. Department of Justice, freezing a cool $225 million linked to a nefarious network. And let’s not forget about the cyber posse roundup led by South Korea, with Interpol riding shotgun. This international operation netted 3,500 suspects and recovered $300 million.

But these scams are entwined with serious, real-world issues like human trafficking. The interconnectedness of crypto scams with other crimes highlights a dark underbelly that requires a united front to tackle.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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Jai Hamid

Jai Hamid is a passionate writer with a keen interest in blockchain technology, the global economy, and literature. She dedicates most of her time to exploring the transformative potential of crypto and the dynamics of worldwide economic trends.

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