While Cryptocurrency and digital currencies and payment systems have been around for more than a decade, evidence that is now mainstream can be found in the ad mix in this January’s Super Bowl, when you saw, for the first time, ads from digital currency companies like eToro, Crypto.com and FTX, all who ran spots during the game.
Remember the bouncing QR code advertisement that aired in the Super Bowl? That was from Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange, who dished out close to $14 million on the ad, which performed so well it temporarily crashed the app.
This rise in popularity, has brought about headlines of fraud.
– A Plano, Texas man, lost more than $220,000 in a cryptocurrency scam.
– A Vegas poker player was charged for his role in a $500,000 Bitcoin trading scam.
The governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, said cryptocurrency is the new “Opportunity for the downright criminal,” calling cryptocurrency the new “front line” for scams.”
With the Better Business Bureau (BBB) estimating the total value of all bitcoins in the world at $1.03 trillion, the potential for cryptocurrency fraud and risks of financial loss were highlighted last month by a BBB’s International Investigations Initiative, which showed fraudulent activity tripled in the past three years.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 35,229 complaints dealing with victims using cryptocurrency in 2020, with reported losses of $246 million, a 64% increase from 2019 when they reported losses of $159 million.
While most of the fraud activity goes unreported, the BBB received 2,465 complaints in 2021 with losses totaling $7,933,474. Cryptocurrency was found to be used as a new payment method in old scams, such as the fraudulent sale of goods online, advance fee loans and employment.
To protect yourself against cryptocurrency scams, the BBB advises to be on guard of:
- Sharing your cryptocurrency wallet
- Unfamiliar email addresses and website addresses
- Paying with cryptocurrency for products
- Fake recovery companies and reviews
- Social media celebrity endorsements, claims and “friends”
- Crypto apps from unfamiliar sources
- Promises of guaranteed returns
For more from the BBB, click here.