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FTC Issues Alert on Rising Crypto Romance Scams

Highlights:

  • The FTC warns of increasing crypto romance scams involving fake investment schemes.
  • Scammers build trust through social media, posing as investment experts to steal money.
  • Victims have lost substantial sums, with the FTC advising immediate disconnection and reporting of suspected scammers.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned love seekers about the growing threat of crypto romance scams. These scams involve fraudsters pretending to be romantic interests to steal money through fake crypto investments.

The FTC cautions that online relationships turning into crypto investment advice should raise red flags. These so-called suitors often build an emotional connection to appear genuine, only to offer fraudulent investment advice.

FTC Highlights Online Crypto Investment Scams

According to the FTC, scammers typically reach out via social media, acting friendly and establishing a bond. They then pose as investment experts, promising high returns and minimizing risks to lure victims into sending money.

These scammers pressure their targets to send money quickly through untraceable methods like gift cards, money transfer apps, or cryptocurrency. The FTC stresses that all such offers are scams, regardless of the claims made by these so-called experts.

The FTC states, “No matter what they say if someone you meet online says they want to help you invest in cryptocurrency, it’s an investment scam.”

Scammers excel at creating emotional bonds, making their financial deception highly convincing. Victims have reported losses ranging from thousands to millions of dollars due to these romance scams.

The FTC advises anyone suspecting a scam to cut off contact immediately and report the incident to authorities. “If you think someone you met on social media is a scammer, cut off contact. Tell the social media platform, and then tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov,” the agency advises.

What are Pig Butchering Scams?

The FTC also highlights the rise of “pig butchering” scams, a term derived from a Chinese phrase describing a slow-burning fraud. Scammers target victims through dating and social media sites, building trust over time before stealing cryptocurrency or money.

These long-term scams often involve scammers posing as cryptocurrency experts to gain the victim’s trust. They use this trust to convince victims to invest in fraudulent schemes, leading to significant financial losses.

Preventing Financial Losses

Romance scams have resulted in millions of dollars in losses over the years. The FTC emphasizes that these scammers establish emotional connections to make their deception more believable. Victims are often directed to send money through methods preferred by scammers, such as gift cards, payment apps like Apple Pay, CashApp, PayPal, and Zelle, or cryptocurrency.

The FTC warns, “People have lost tens of thousands, sometimes millions, of dollars to romance scammers.” The agency underscores the importance of vigilance and immediate action if a scam is suspected.

CAFC and CIRO Warn Canadians of Rising Crypto Scams

Recently, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) and the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO) alerted Canadians about rising sophisticated scams. These scams often involve extended online communication, leading individuals to invest in fraudulent schemes, frequently with cryptocurrencies. 

Scammers use social manipulation and financial grooming to exploit the public’s interest in crypto assets. Victims are enticed to transfer increasing amounts of money. Typical frauds offer “get rich quick” opportunities and promise high returns. Unfortunately, these scams often result in significant financial losses. Canadians are advised to be cautious and informed to avoid falling victim to these deceptive practices.

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