More than 46,000 individuals have lost over a combined $1 billion in crypto-related scams since the beginning of last year, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
Approximately $680 million in fraud was reported in 2021, and some $329 million was reported just in the first quarter of 2022, according to a report released Friday.
Social media usage while holding crypto creates “a combustible combination for fraud,” the FTC wrote. “Nearly half the people who reported losing crypto to a scam since 2021 said it started with an ad, post, or message on a social media platform.”
“And most people are still unfamiliar with how crypto works,” the report continued. “These considerations are not unique to crypto transactions, but they all play into the hands of scammers.”
Bitcoin (70%), Tether (10%), and Ether (9%) were the most frequently stolen cryptocurrencies, according to the report.
Nearly four out of every 10 dollars reported lost to scams that originated on social media since 2021 were linked to crypto, with Facebook (32%), Instagram (26%), and Whatsapp (9%) the most frequently cited platforms.
Individuals age 20 to 49 were three times as likely to have reported being scammed compared with older age groups, but older individuals reported losing greater sums—the median amount for victims in their 70s was nearly $12,000.
“The stories people share about these scams describe a perfect storm: false promises of easy money paired with people’s limited crypto understanding and experience,” the FTC wrote. “Investment scammers claim they can quickly and easily get huge returns for investors. But those crypto ‘investments’ go straight to a scammer’s wallet.”
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