A new report by the Federal Trade Commission suggests that more than 46,000 people reported losing over $1 billion in payment scams involving cryptocurrencies since the start of 2021.
The top cryptocurrencies people said they used to pay scammers were Bitcoin BTC/USD which accounted for 70%, followed by Tether USDT/USD, 10%, and Ethereum ETH/USD, 9%.
The agency said that about $575 million of all losses related to digital currency frauds were about "bogus investment opportunities".
Nearly four out of every 10 dollars lost in a fraud originating on social media was lost in crypto, far more than any other payment method, with Meta Platforms Inc's FB Instagram and Facebook, along with WhatsApp and Telegram being the top social media platforms in such cases.
Also, romance scams are responsible for $185 million worth of cryptocurrency losses. Scammers try to impress their potential victims with fake wealth before casually offering them investment tips.
Fraudsters who impersonate businesses and government officials account for the rest of the remaining $133 million lost to scammers.
In the first quarter of 2022, losses reached $329 million, which is almost half of what was stolen throughout the entire year of 2021, $680 million. The median individual loss currently stands at $2,600.
Bad actors managed to cash in 60 times more in 2021 than in 2018, underscoring the growing scope of cryptocurrency scams.
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