Tech

Americans Have Lost $ 1 Billion in Cryptocurrencies

Blockchain technology and the cryptocurrencies based on it have the aura of part of the inevitable future, and it is no surprise that there are people who can take advantage of this and the naivete of strangers.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Friday released a study that found Americans lost more than $ 1 billion in cryptocurrency fraud.

46,000 people say they were deceived between January 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022, most often with the promise of an “investment opportunity” that later turned out to be fraud. The average amount they lost was about $ 2,600.

The incidence of such fraud is growing – the losses for this 15-month period were 60 times greater than those reported in 2018. Cryptocurrencies are so common that almost every fourth dollar stolen by fraud is taken with a similar scheme, according to the report, quoted by technology site Gizmodo.

The commission said younger people in their 30s were more likely to be deceived in a similar way.

At the same time, older Americans generally give more money to a scam. People over the age of 70 have lost an average of about $ 11,708 in fraud.

The victims most often paid the fraudsters through the cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Tether and Ether.

The Trade Commission explains that cryptocurrencies are attractive to fraudsters because there are no banks or other service involved to monitor suspicious transactions or attempted fraud.

“Crypto transfers cannot be reversed – once the money is gone, there is no way to get it back. And most people still don’t know how crypto works,” the report said.

More than half of the money reported in it – $ 575 million – was lost in “investment fraud”.

There, an alleged entrepreneur turns to a person with a proposal for a “good deal” – with a new cryptocurrency, for example. Most Americans who have been deceived by such scams say it all started with advertising or posting on social media – most often Instagram and Facebook.

There is no profit for fraudsters, only for the fraudster who disappears with the “investment”.

Another $ 185 million was lost in “romantic scams.” In them, the victim gets involved with a crypto-fraudster through online dating sites. 133 million are lost in situations where fraudsters pretend to be governments or legitimate businesses and give victims strange reasons to justify their demand for money.

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