In the United States, most people lose their cryptocurrency to investment scams. The older the victims, the higher the individual losses. The US consumer protection authority FTC (Federal Trade Commission) presented the details of the cryptocurrency fraud in a report. According to this, more than 46,000 people in the United States have reported a case of fraud since 2021, and losses since then have amounted to more than US$1 billion in various cryptocurrencies.
Fraudsters were paid most often with Bitcoin (70% of all payments), followed by Tether (10%) and Ether (9%). The most common scam involves investment transactions: victims have lost the equivalent of US$575 million. Dating fraud comes second, followed by scams in which scammers pretend to be businessmen or government employees come third and fourth.
When it comes to fraud in the investment industry, the FTC sees several factors that make it easier for scammers: many victims are blindsided by the promise of returns and there is a lack of understanding of how cryptocurrencies work. Many victims seem unaware that, unlike a bank, crypto transactions cannot be easily traced and reversed.
The older the victims, the higher the individual losses.
In some cases, losses due to cryptocurrency fraud can actually be measured in US dollars without converting them. For example, one scam involves victims depositing money in an encrypted ATM into their wallet, then using a QR code to transfer the money to the scammers’ wallets. The older those affected, the greater the individual losses: victims in their 60s lost an average of almost $12,000. In contrast, victims aged 20-29 reported a median of just US$1,600 in individual losses, while victims aged 30-39 reported a median of US$2,500.
Due to the temporary surge in cryptocurrency exchange rates, coupled with the popularity of crypto-assets, the amount of damages has risen sharply over the past four years. In 2017 a declared loss of 12 million US dollars was recorded, in 2019 it was 33 million US dollars and in 2020 it was already 120 million US dollars. In 2021, the amount of reported damage skyrocketed to $680 million. In the first quarter of 2022, losses already amounted to 329 million dollars.