Crypto leads to massive increase in online scams

Crypto leads to massive increase in online scams

Last year, more than 95,000 people reported losing around $770 million to fraud schemes on social media. The big picture: Fraud cases from social media now account for roughly 25% of all fraud cases in the U.S., up 18x from 2017. Between the lines: The FTC highlighted the role Facebook and Instagram play in social media fraud, noting that more than a third of people who reported losing money to an online romance scam said it began on one of those platforms.

“People send money, often cryptocurrency, on promises of huge returns, but end up empty handed,” the FTC writes. Even if an investment scam didn’t occur happen on social media, more than half of the people who reported losses said the scam started on social media.The FTC says one type of crypto scam reported to the agency involves someone bragging about their own success to drive people to bogus investment sites. By the numbers: Investment-related scams on social media represented 37% of all reported losses, followed by romance scams and online shopping scams.

Yes, but: While investment scams are by far the most costly for consumers, they aren’t the most common. The greatest volume of complaints filed to the FCC came from rackets related to online shopping. This is especially true among younger people who are digitally savvy but less financially literate. People ages 18-to-39 were more than twice as likely to report losing money to social media scams as older adults last year.

Tech platforms like Google and Facebook banned crypto-related ads in 2018. Google reinstated them in a limited capacity last summer.

What to watch: The FTC, which regulates advertising, noted in its report that cheap, targeted ads on social media make it easier for fraudsters to hyper-target victims using information like their interests or past purchases. Nearly 9 out of 10 named Facebook or Instagram as the platform in which online shopping scams related to undelivered goods originated, the agency said.

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