- Losses suffered by investors as a result of cryptocurrency investment scams increased.
Compared to $907 million in 2021, cryptocurrency investment fraud reached a record $2.57 billion in 2022, an increase of 183% annually.
About 90% of the $3.31 billion lost to online investment fraud in 2022 came from cryptocurrency losses, which accounted for approximately 25% of all money lost to online scams and fraud.
Americans lost $10.3 billion overall to internet scams in 2022, compared to $6.9 billion in 2021.
The $10.3 billion lost in 2022 is the highest amount ever stolen by online scammers and fraudsters. The FBI started collecting data on online scams through its internet crime complaint centre (IC3) in 2000.
In a similar vein, complaints about cryptocurrency-based fraud reached record highs during the year, with the phrase “cryptocurrency wallet” appearing in a large majority of the complaints.
FBI’s Data on Crypto Crime
The 2022 Internet Crime Report was released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) last week. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) of the agency, which “serves as a public resource to submit reports of cyberattacks and incidents,” according to the bureau, provided the data used to construct the report.
Investment frauds were the most expensive scheme reported to the IC3 in 2022. Investment fraud charges climbed by 127%, from $1.45 billion in 2021 to $3.31 billion in 2022, according to the FBI, which also stated:
The amount of accusations involving cryptocurrency investment fraud increased by 183%, from $907 million in 2021 to $2.57 billion in 2022.
The number of victims and the monetary losses suffered by investors as a result of cryptocurrency investment scams increased at an unprecedented rate. The most targeted age group reporting this type of scam are people between the ages of 30 and 49, according to the survey, and many victims have taken on significant debt to offset losses from these false investments.
The FBI also listed common scams involving cryptocurrency investments that will occur in 2022, including those involving mining for liquidity, hacked social media accounts, impersonating celebrities, real estate agents, and jobs.
Breakdown of investment fraud
According to the FBI, criminals targeted and conned their victims in a number of ways.
Several con artists gave their victims access to phoney platforms for mining liquidity. Once victims connected their bitcoin wallets to the aforementioned platform, scammers would immediately and silently withdraw their money.
Some con artists utilized hijacked social media accounts to pitch phony investment proposals to the friends and family of the victims, while other con artists used phony celebrity personas to promote similar scams.
The FBI, meanwhile, claimed that con artists are getting skilled and have started recently to focus on bitcoin exchanges and their clients.
The theft of cryptocurrencies by con artists was not restricted to online schemes; some of them impersonated real estate investment offers. Others were also conned via false job openings.
Although criminal groups running investment scams have been dismantled in some instances, there is still much to be done.
Yet it is obvious that cyber crime, regardless of its form, is a significant issue.