Better Business Bureau sees cryptocurrency scams rising

Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 4:34 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) annual scam tracker risk report shows cryptocurrency scams jumped to the second most common scam reported to the agency in 2021, up from the number seven spot in 2020.

Experts expect frequency to grow.

“As we are all becoming more familiar with digital wallets and cryptocurrencies in general, scammers have used that as an opportunity to take advantage of consumers because a lot of us still aren’t totally familiar with how cryptocurrency works, and it’s like cash,” State Director of the BBB Denise Groene said Monday.

“The age demographic for cryptocurrency victims is between 25-64 years old so we tend to see that younger generations tend to feel more comfortable and are more aware of cryptocurrency so they’re more likely to use it as a method of payment.”

The BBB reports the average loss in cryptocurrency scams is $1,200.

“Cryptocurrency is essentially digital money, you can use an app you can purchase bitcoin and these scammers want you to send money via digital currency on these apps and once you send it, it’s like cash, so it’s gone,” she said.

“You can’t undo it, there’s no fraud department like for a credit card that you can contact and maybe get some money back, once it’s sent, it is gone.”

Groene said the best way to be protected from cryptocurrency scams is to be honest about the unknown.

“If you’re not familiar with the form of payment someone is requesting, it’s best not to proceed with the transaction,” she said.

“If you’re dealing with a website where they only accept cryptocurrency for a purchase and you’ve never had any experience with that website, it’s probably best to not order from the website.”

She said the trend will not fade anytime in the near future.

“We always for years have warned not to use wiring or gift cards anytime soon but now we’ll have to add cryptocurrency to that as a way to take advantage.”

Report a scam here.

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