A new analysis by the Federal Trade Commission has found that Americans lost more than $1 billion to cryptocurrency scams since the start of last year, accounting for a fourth of all dollars lost to fraud using any payment method and taking in more than 46,000 people from the beginning of 2021 through March, reports the Washington Post.
Losses from crypto fraud last year were almost 60 times what they were in 2018 and likely represent a small fraction of the total toll, since most of the crimes go unreported. Investment scams promising swift and easy paydays account for the bulk of the crypto fraud, totaling $575 million in losses.
Fraudsters frequently lure victims on social media by bragging about ambitious investments and fake earnings. Romance scams in which thieves pose as potential love interests then persuade victims to invest in fraudulent crypto schemes cost victims $185 million.
Young people are at higher risk: people between 20 and 49 were more than three times as likely as older cohorts to fall for crypto grift, and crypto scams made up 35 percent of the fraud suffered by people in their 30s.