While crypto prices rise, the amount lost to crypto scams keeps growing.
Consumers reported losses of nearly $82 million to crypto scams between October 2020 and March 2021, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The $82 million loss is ten times the amount reported for the same six-month period a year earlier.
The FTC said crypto scams increase when crypto prices rise. Between October 2020 to March 2021, Bitcoin climbed from $10,000 to $59,000, a 490% increase. Ethereum’s price rose from $360 to $1,940 in the same time period.
“Cryptocurrency enthusiasts congregate online to chat about their shared passion. And with bitcoin’s value soaring in recent months, new investors may be eager to get in on the action. All of this plays right into the hands of scammers,” the FTC said.
The FTC’s data relies on self-reporting consumers, so the true loss may be higher than reported.
Consumers who reported scams to the FTC are far from the only victims of crypto scams.
In Australia, scammers pocketed over $20 million in crypto payments last year, according to a report published this month by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The commission found that crypto was the second most popular payment method for scammers after bank transfers.
In the UK, the National Crime Agency is also concerned that crypto adoption could increase crypto-related crime. In the organization’s annual report on serious organized crime, the NCA claimed that increasing Bitcoin adoption could make life easier for criminals.
If cryptocurrencies are the future of finance, it’s the future for scammers.