Cryptocurrency scams occur when the virtual coins are purchased from, traded by, or stored with a person or exchange site that turns out to be fraudulent. Sometimes these digital assets are purchased as part of a fraudulent Initial Coin Offering (ICO), in which investors are scammed into paying money or trading digital assets for a company or product that never materializes.
According to the Risk Report, 68.5% of people that reported a cryptocurrency scam lost money, and nearly one-third of these losses (31.0%) involved the cryptocurrency exchange site C2CX. Additionally, 23.4% of individuals said they purchased cryptocurrency as an investment opportunity.
Unlike money stored in a traditional bank account, which is insured against theft, digital assets such as cryptocurrency cannot be retrieved, and transactions cannot be reversed in the case of theft or cyber hacking.
“Scammers are opportunists,” said Trumpower. “Whatever is in the news or being talked about on social media, they see as an opening. Scammers will also imposter a recognizable and respected organization or brand.”
The ten riskiest scams of 2019 were: employment, cryptocurrency, online purchase, fake checks/money orders, advance fee loan, romance, home improvement, investment, tech support, and travel/vacation/timeshare.