SHERIFF CARMINE MARCENO’S JANUARY FRAUD ALERT: CRYPTOCURRENCY SCAMS
Cryptocurrency…a digital currency that only exists electronically…is exchanged and purchased online, through an exchange platform, without the involvement of a bank or banking entity.
There are many “brands” of cryptocurrency with the list growing daily.
Cryptocurrency has become a popular form of investment and can be used for quick payments, to avoid transaction fees that regular banks charge, or because it offers some anonymity.
There are important differences between cryptocurrency and traditional currency. Cryptocurrency accounts are not backed by our government…or any government, for that matter. That being said, cryptocurrency accounts are not insured by the government the way that U.S. dollars are when deposited into a bank account. If you store cryptocurrency with a third-party company, and the company goes out of business or is hacked, the government has no obligation to step in and help get your money back. Should you make payment(s) using cryptocurrency, and the transaction is fraudulent, you have no legal protections.
Any and every new technology seems to attract criminals and scammers and cryptocurrency is no exception. According to the Federal Trade Commission:
• Some companies promise that you can earn lots of money in a short time and achieve financial freedom.
• Some scammers tell you to pay in cryptocurrency for the right to recruit others into a program. If you do, they say, you’ll get recruitment rewards paid in cryptocurrency. The more cryptocurrency you pay, the more money they promise you’ll make. But these are all fake promises, and false guarantees.
• Some scammers start with unsolicited offers from supposed “investment managers.” These scammers say they can help you grow your money if you give them the cryptocurrency you’ve bought. But once you log in to the “investment account” they’ve opened, you’ll find that you can’t withdraw your money unless you pay fees.
• Some scammers send unsolicited job offers to help recruit cryptocurrency investors, sell cryptocurrency, mine cryptocurrency, or help with converting cash to bitcoin.
• Some scammers list scam jobs on job websites. They’ll promise you a job (for a fee paid in cryptocurrency), but end up taking your money or personal information.
Look for claims, like these, to help you spot the companies and people to avoid:
• Scammers guarantee that you’ll make money. If they promise you’ll make a profit, that’s a scam…even if there’s a celebrity endorsement or testimonials. (Those are easily faked.)
• Scammers promise big payouts with guaranteed returns. Nobody can guarantee a set return…double or triple your money…much less in a short time.
• Scammers promise free money. They’ll promise it in cash or cryptocurrency, but free money promises are always fake.
• Scammers make big claims without details or explanations. Smart business people want to understand how their investment works, and where their money is going. And good investment advisors want to share that information.
Report all cryptocurrency fraud to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.