The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says that the number of victims who fell to crypto investment scams reached record numbers in 2022.
In a new report, the Bureau says that investment scams were the costliest schemes reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) last year.
Losses sustained by investment scam victims rose from $1.45 billion in 2021 to $3.31 billion in 2022, or an increase of 127%. Crypto scammers siphoned $2.57 billion in 2022, up by 183% from $907 million in 2021.
“Crypto-investment scams saw unprecedented increases in the number of victims and the dollar losses to these investors. Many victims have assumed massive debt to cover losses from these fraudulent investments.”
The report says that victims of investment scams are mostly between 30 and 49 years old.
Some of the most widely used crypto schemes involve “liquidity mining,” which enticed victims to link their crypto wallet to malicious applications. Perpetrators also hacked social media accounts to peddle fraudulent crypto investment opportunities to the existing friends of the compromised user.
Bad actors also impersonated well-known celebrities to convince victims to invest in fraudulent opportunities.
The victims were also lured by using fake positions at companies supposedly involved in investing. Instead of getting a job, the applicants were given fraudulent investment opportunities.
The scammers also targeted real estate professionals with offers to buy expensive properties for cash or cryptocurrency.
The report says that cybercriminals are increasingly using crypto platforms for their schemes.
“More recently, fraudsters are more frequently utilizing custodial accounts held at financial institutions for cryptocurrency exchanges, or having victims send funds directly to cryptocurrency platforms where funds are quickly dispersed.”Don't Miss a Beat – Subscribe to get crypto email alerts delivered directly to your inbox
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