This year, consumers have lost more than $80 million in cryptocurrency investment scams, an enormous increase from the $7.5 million in losses reported the previous year. Scammers often ask for cryptocurrency payments in the context of other scams such as romance or real estate. Consumers should know that unlike credit cards, cryptocurrency typically offers no legal protection. Payments cannot be reversed, there is no way to dispute a purchase, and some cryptocurrency payments are recorded on a blockchain (a public ledger). Moreover, cryptocurrency values are constantly fluctuating.

Some scams are particular to cryptocurrency. While cryptocurrencies can be legitimate investments, some “investment opportunities” are just fake websites that show consumers’ investments growing. When investors attempt to withdraw their money, they are encouraged to send more, but never see a real return.

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