Crypto scammers drained $1 billion in 2017

Since the start of 2017, Americans have lost more than $1 billion to cryptocurrency scams, according to the FTC. Criminals are exploiting increased enthusiasm in rapid digital riches.

Crypto-based cons account for a fourth of all fraud money lost from 2021 to March, the survey showed. Last year's crypto losses were 60 times 2018's.

Emma Fletcher, the FTC's senior data analyst who prepared the study, said most offences go undetected.

Investment schemes promising fast money account for $575 million in crypto fraud losses. Social media fraudsters trap victims with bogus investment returns. 

 In other circumstances, investors complete "test" withdrawals, persuading them the arrangement is solid and urging them to contribute more money they can't recoup.

Fletcher said prospective crypto investors should also avoid social media offers. Even if it's a buddy, the account might be hacked, she warned.

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