More Than $1 Billion Was Lost To Crypto Scams In The Last 15 Months, According To The FTC

The crypto crash isn’t the only way the decentralized currency can lose its holders a lot of real money. According to a new report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), cryptocurrency is increasingly used as part of scams, either as an integral part of the scam itself or just the way scammers want to be paid.

The FTC says 46,000 people reported losing more than $1 billion worth of crypto in scams between January 2021 and March 2022, noting that this number is only the people who reported their losses to the FTC. It’s likely that the actual number of people scammed and crypto lost is much higher, as most victims don’t report their losses to the FTC.

Even though that $1 billion figure might not be reflective of the true amount of money lost, it does indicate just how much crypto scams have increased: Reported losses were nearly 60 times higher in 2021 than they were in 2018. And in the first quarter of 2022 alone, losses were already about half of what they were in all of 2021. A quarter of the money lost in reported scams is now in crypto.

Crypto already has a not-great reputation as a playground for illegal purchases, hacker ransoms, and money laundering. Its increasing role in old-fashioned scams won’t help enthusiasts make the case that virtual currency should play a larger role in legitimate financial markets and banks. While President Biden signed an executive order last March to come up with cryptocurrency regulations, it’s not known what those regulations will be, when they’ll be put in place, or if they’ll do anything to prevent scams.