Cryptocurrency fraud is rampant. Here’s how to protect yourself as a crypto investor.

The photo shows physical imitations of cryptocurrency
The photo shows physical imitations of cryptocurrency

  • A new FTC report says that cryptocurrency fraud is the most costly type of fraud for Americans in their 20s and 30s.
  • There are ways to protect yourself, from not participating in fake giveaways to researching.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Federal Trade Commission released a report on Monday warning that cryptocurrency fraud and scams are on the rise as more investors put their money into the blockchain.

The FTC also released guidance on how to protect yourself, as the relative novelty of cryptocurrency investments means that people might not even know they’re being taken advantage of.

Consumers are advised to keep an eye out for deals or returns that look too good to be true in the crypto space, just as with other online scams.

However, there are also cryptocurrency-specific tips that the FTC put out.

Investors are warned to avoid scammers impersonating celebrities, “doing giveaways with claims of multiplying any cryptocurrency you send.” The FTC specified that losses from crypto scams that impersonated Elon Musk totaled more than $2 million in just the last six months.

One man in Germany told the BBC that he invested over $500,000 in a giveaway scam that impersonated Musk.

The report also warned cryptocurrency owners to avoid trading coins on dating apps, and urged people to vet their investments by searching for the company’s name in conjunction with keywords like “scam” or “review.”

The FTC warns that users cannot get their money back in many cases after sending cryptocurrency, wire transfers, or gift cards to scammers.

Younger people are particularly likely to be affected by cryptocurrency scams, the FTC notes.

“Consumers age 20 to 49 were over five times more likely than older age groups to report losing money to a cryptocurrency investment scam,” the report stated. And cryptocurrency scams lost people in their 20s and 30s more money than any other type of fraud.

The FTC’s spotlight covers the pasts six months and aggregates 7,000 reports of fraud.

If you think you’ve experienced a cryptocurrency scam, you can report it to the FTC here.

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