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NEWS | May 12, 2022

Cryptocurrency scams: tips to avoid being a victim

436th Airlift Wing Legal Assistance office

In 2021, the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Sentinel reported nearly 7,000 people lost over $80 million in cryptocurrency scams. More and more, public and private entities are starting to accept cryptocurrency and usage is soaring.

Crypto scams may take many forms. In many instances, the scammer attempts to either have the victim pay them directly through a cryptocurrency ATM or the scammer has the victim invest in a fake account. Because cryptocurrencies are becoming more widely accepted, these scams can appear in many different forms: romance scams, giveaway scams, phishing scams, bogus business opportunities, and cloud mining scams.

The following are some examples of ways individuals can protect themselves:

  • If you are engaged in crypto transactions, beware of individuals directing you to pay in advance for something, especially if they are using a QR code.
  • When using social media apps, scammers will frequently target users by creating social media accounts for giveaways and prizes. Do not transfer funds to unknown users unless you have taken the time to verify the account.
  • Be mindful of investments or business opportunities that are too good to be true.
  • Do not give away any private key information over the phone or through email. Scammers can get access to your online crypto wallet.
  • Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are susceptible to crypto scams as well. Scammers can create fraudulent websites to mislead investors by using fake advertising.
  • Do not make advance payments on websites that claim to mine for cryptocurrencies. They may seize your down payment without providing the services.

If you are a victim of a crypto scam, report it to the FTC at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/. More information about crypto scams can be found at https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/what-know-about-cryptocurrency-scams.