The FBI San Francisco published a public warning about the spike in romance scams involving crypto just days before Valentine’s Day, based on complaints received with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
The rising cases of Romance scams
In a romance scam, under the pretext of getting romantic, unwary investors, both men, and women are convinced and asked to send money to fake accounts. While the scammers allow investors to withdraw some earnings from the initial trade to establish credibility, the victims are compelled to spend more money. When the victims refuse to invest more money, the scammers usually stop responding.
In 2020, the FBI received more than 23,000 complaints concerning confidence/romance frauds, with reported losses of more than $600 million.
Furthermore, in the Northern District of California alone, the intelligence and security service received 742 complaints in 2021, much outnumbering the 720 and 526 complaints received in 2020 and 2019, respectively. In December, an Australian couple lost over $100k to a crypto scam.
FBI suggests some tips for protection
On the warning, the FBI also outlined some small tips that investors should consider to protect themselves from the phony accounts:
- Investors should not send money, trade, or invest following the advice of someone they have solely met online.
- Investors should never disclose their financial status to untrusted and unknown bodies.
- Investors should not provide any banking information, copies of your identification or passport, Social Security Number, or any such sensitive information to anyone, online or at a location that is not legitimate.
- If a digital platform, trading site, or a person is promoting unbelievable profits, investors should not fall into the trap of getting scammed.
- Investors should be cautious of the persons who claim to be extremely knowledgeable and have exclusive opportunities and urge one to act fast.
Before this, as TheCoinRise reported, the FBI also issued a public warning regarding scams via ATMs and QR codes.