AARP Pennsylvania is urging all Pennsylvania residents to be vigilant about cryptocurrency scams in 2023. According to the Federal Trade Commission, fraud involving crypto investment schemes and crypto as payment in other schemes skyrocketed in 2022. Reported losses exceeded $1 billion.
Last year, the evergreen online romance scam turned into crypto “investment opportunities” – starting on such platforms as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn in addition to dating sites and apps. The target can see their assets gaining value as they continue to invest more money; only the crypto exchange they are on is fake. When they try cashing out, they’re told they must pay excessive fees and don’t get their money back.
In the ‘crypto as payment’ schemes, criminals convince targets that some urgent matter requires quick payment and direct them to a nearby crypto-ATM machine that converts cash into electronic currency. These losses are virtually unrecoverable.
“AARP Pennsylvania is dedicated to ensuring our members know the ins and outs of these scams so they can best avoid them,” said David Kalinoski, AARP Pennsylvania Associate Director of Community Outreach. “Scammers are getting smarter, and their tactics are more technical than ever. We must have the tools to stop them in their tracks. AARP encourages all Pennsylvanians to be fraud fighters. If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.”
The best way to avoid these scams – really any scam – is to know about them to avoid engaging. Seek a financial advisor’s guidance on investing, and anyone pressuring you to pay by crypto to address an urgent or time-sensitive matter is a criminal. AARP’s Fraud Watch Network is an additional online tool that allows anyone to stay informed, find support, and have a voice in the fight against scammers. The Fraud Watch Network can be accessed at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.
Report scams to local law enforcement. For help from AARP, call 1-877-908-3360 or visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol @AARPadvocates and @AliadosAdelante on social media.