Crypto and romance scams continue to cost victims billions

Diane Wilson Image
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
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Online scams continue to soar costing victims thousands of dollars. Just in North Carolina, the average loss to a scam is close to $9,000 per victim according to the FBI's latest r

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Online scams continue to soar costing victims thousands of dollars. Just in North Carolina, the average loss to a scam is close to $9,000 per victim according to the FBI's latest report. During the pandemic online scams skyrocketed, so much so a new study shows money lost doubled.

According to the FBI's 2021 Internet Crime Report, a record $6.9 billion was lost to online scams, up from $3.5 billion in 2019. In North Carolina, more than ten thousand victims lost $99 million in 2021. According to the report, cryptocurrency and investment scams are skyrocketing and are highly sophisticated, just in 2021 victims lost $1.6 billion.

We showed you how several ABC11 viewers got tricked through cryptocurrency scams. A Durham man thought it was a work-from-home job where he helped consumers buy and trade crypto, instead he lost $10,000 of his own money. A Fayetteville veteran lost $15,000 when he thought he was on a legitimate crypto buying website, instead, it was a copycat and took all of his money.

The FBI's report also said many victims of romance scams were pressured into investment opportunities using cryptocurrency. The scammer's initial contact is typically made via dating apps and other social media sites. The scammer gains the confidence and trust of the victim, and then claims to know about cryptocurrency investment or trading opportunities that will result in substantial profits...instead it's all a scam.

To avoid online scams, it all comes down to protecting your money. Scammers make big promises and make it appear they are with legit companies, but you need to step back and do research. Always do a reverse search using photos, emails, phone numbers, and addresses to verify if the person or entity you are speaking to online is who they say they are.