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FTC: Consumers Lost $80M to Cryptocurrency Scams Over Six-Month Period

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A Federal Trade Commission report says consumer losses related to cryptocurrency investment scams grew 10-fold year-over-year to more than $80 million from October 2020 to March 2021.

FTC said Monday it analyzed almost 7,000 complaints from digital currency fraud victims during the six-month period and found that the median value they lost was $1,900.

In some cases, scammers used a prominent figure in the cryptocurrency space by promising an investor they would increase the amount sent to their wallet, the agency noted.

Consumers reported losing at least $2 million to Elon Musk impersonators, according to FTC’s consumer protection data spotlight. The commission added that another tactic by scammers involves giving people “investment tips” through message boards that direct them to fake investment sites.

FTC said investment scams are the main form of fraud where consumers in their 20’s and 30’s are losing their money, adding that over half of investment scam losses were specifically in cryptocurrency.

Meanwhile, the agency also highlighted that people between the ages of 20 to 49 were five times more likely to report investment scam losses in cryptocurrency than those in older age groups.