The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has revealed that more than 46,000 people have reported losing over $1 billion in cryptocurrency to scams since the beginning of last year.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission published a “Data Spotlight” report on crypto scams Friday. The FTC is the only federal agency in the country with both consumer protection and competition jurisdiction in broad sectors of the economy, the regulator’s website describes.
Emma Fletcher, senior data researcher at the FTC, wrote:
Since the start of 2021, more than 46,000 people have reported losing over $1 billion in crypto to scams – that’s about one out of every four dollars reported lost, more than any other payment method.
Specifically, $680 million in cryptocurrency fraud losses were reported in 2021. In the first quarter of this year, the losses due to crypto fraud amounted to $329 million.
The researcher added that the median individual reported loss is $2,600, noting:
The top cryptocurrencies people said they used to pay scammers were bitcoin (70%), tether (10%), and ether (9%).
The regulator further explained that nearly half the people who reported losing crypto to a scam since 2021 said it started with “an ad, post, or message on a social media platform.” The top platforms reported by investors were Instagram (32%), Facebook (26%), Whatsapp (9%), and Telegram (7%).
In addition, of the reported crypto fraud losses that began on social media, most ($575 million) are investment scams, the FTC said. Romance scams came second, with $185 million in reported cryptocurrency losses since 2021
People ages 20 to 49 were more likely to have reported losing cryptocurrency to a scammer, with those in their 30s being hit the hardest, the regulator noted. However, median individual reported losses increased with age, topping out at $11,708 for people in their 70s.
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