WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram users are being warned about the dangers and spread of cryptocurrency scams on the Meta-owned apps. A new study has revealed that since the start of 2021 cryptocurrency scams have cost victims a staggering £800million in total, with the median victim having over £2,000 stolen. Many of these scams begin on social media, with WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram the main three platforms criminals exploit.
Instagram is the most targeted app for crypto scams (32 percent), followed by Facebook (26 percent) and WhatsApp (nine percent).
These stats come from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), who said between the start of 2021 and the end of March 2022 more than 46,000 people fell victim to cryptocurrency scams.
The most common type of scam was a cryptocurrency investment hoax, with victims losing £459million after being tricked into fake investment opportunities.
Bitcoin was by far the currency that scammers targeted the most, with 70 percent of victims paying out in this currency.
The second most targeted currency was Tether (10 percent) followed by Ether (nine percent).
Speaking about the threat of cryptocurrency scams, the FTC said: “Investment scammers claim they can quickly and easily get huge returns for investors. But those crypto ‘investments’ go straight to a scammer’s wallet. People report that investment websites and apps let them track the growth of their crypto, but it’s all fake.
“Some people report making a small ‘test’ withdrawal – just enough to convince them it’s safe to go all in. When they really try to cash out, they’re told to send more crypto for (fake) fees, and they don’t get any of their money back”.
Sadly, one extremely costly scam for individuals are romance scams where scammers prey on people’s desire for love to extort money from them.
The median amount of money stolen with these scams per individual is almost £8,000.
To help you avoid such costly scams, the FTC offered some key pieces of advice to help you stay clear.
The FTC advised…
– Only scammers will guarantee profits or big returns. No cryptocurrency investment is ever guaranteed to make money, let alone big money
– Nobody legit will require you to buy cryptocurrency. Not to sort out a problem, not to protect your money. That’s a scam
– Never mix online dating and investment advice. If a new love interest wants to show you how to invest in crypto, or asks you to send them crypto, that’s a scam