Our office is monitoring national reports that 7,000 people have lost around $80 million in cryptocurrency scams over the last six months. Increasing investments in digital coins, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, are often ripe for scammers.
First, it’s important to know that cryptocurrency transactions are largely irreversible. Once you send money using cryptocurrency, there are very few ways to recover the funds. Second, the transactions are difficult to trace because it’s difficult to locate or identify the scammers. Finally, the current frenzy surrounding cryptocurrency prices has attracted uninformed investors. Scammers prey on people by posing as knowledgeable professionals.
Here’s what you need to know about cryptocurrency scams to avoid falling victim to such schemes:
1. Watch out for unsolicited messages that seek payment specifically in cryptocurrency. Anyone who requests payment through wire transfer, gift cards, or cryptocurrency could be a scammer.
2. Be extremely skeptical of get-rich-quick guarantees. If someone promises you fast profits in return for you sending cryptocurrency, it is likely a scam.
3. Make sure you know the exact identity and reputation of who you are transacting with. Search their name, or the name of the company, with the words “scam” or “review” to validate their credibility. If you are unsure if a company is legitimate, call our office before doing business with them.
4. Be wary of impersonators. Just because someone tells you who they are or who they represent, it does not mean it is the truth. In six months, investors lost $2 million to scammers pretending to be Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla.
5. Do not fall for scare tactics – any message that threatens consequences if you do not send cryptocurrency is a scam.
If you believe that you have been the victim of a scam, call our office at 877-5-NO-SCAM or file a complaint online at https://ncdoj.gov/file-a-complaint/.