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‘Online Love Interest Is A Scammer,’ Warns FTC On Crypto Scams

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The evolution of new technologies gave birth to crypto romance scams, robbing millions in cryptocurrencies from individuals. Amid the rising cases of crypto romance scams, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cautioned individuals to stay away from online love interests.

What are Crypto Romance Scams?

On June 10, the FTC posted a consumer alert on crypto romance scams and ways to stay aware of such scams. Crypto romance scams are related to a group of cryptocurrency scammers searching social media sites and dating victims by creating fake accounts.

After developing emotional connections, the scammers try to help individuals invest in cryptocurrency or any other financial investment. They advise investing in the crypto market or teach the same.

In the same way, the scammers promise big profits from the investments with no risk and tell about the money-sending process.

Romance Scammers Lies I Source: FTC

As per FTC Data Spotlight Report 2023, “I or someone else close to me is sick, hurt or in jail” is one of the biggest lies scammers use to trap individuals. Additionally, 18% was secured by the “I can teach you how to invest” lie, holding 18% of the total.

The report also exposed that 40% of people lost their money to romance scams in 2022 and began interacting over social media. Individuals also reported that the scammers quickly shifted to WhatsApp, telegram, or Google Chat.

The FTC alerts individuals about such scams and requests to cut off such contact and immediately report on social media platforms and to the FTC.

Top Payment Methods on Romance Scams in 2022

Uncovering the top payment methods used by scammers for attempting online crypto romance scams, payments in crypto were attackers’ favorite. In 2022, individuals reported that most of the money was transferred in cryptocurrency or direct bank transfer, over 34% and 27%, respectively.

Payment Methods on Romance Scams 2022 I Source: FTC

Gift cards or any payment application are other common payment methods used for online crypto romance scams. Additionally, such fraud escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic when everyone was isolated, and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) performed well.

At press time, BTC was hovering at $66,888.36 with a market cap of $1,320,786,659,459, and ETH was trading at $3,533.85 and $424,609,181,551 in market cap.

In 2020, a total of $12 Million in cryptocurrency was stolen from individuals by romance scammers, whereas the total loss was reported at $304 Million, as per Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Keeping the stats in mind, the FTC warned individuals of such scams and advised them to stay alert.

Ways to Stay Away from Crypto Romance Scams

To fight such scammers, HSI works with other departments, like the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Federal Bureau of Investigations, etc. Moreover, the FTC shared a few tips on how to stay away from such scams.

Avoiding sending crypto, gift cards, or direct bank transfers to unknowns or anyone met online will help reduce scam rates. Further, keeping good friends in the loop while talking to any online person and not believing in promises, especially based on investments, are some advice from FTC. 

Disclaimer

The analysis given above is for informational and educational purposes only. You should not take it as financial, investment, or other advice. Investing in or trading crypto assets is risky. Please consider your circumstances and risk profile before making any investment decisions.

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