Keith Elizabeth says a woman befriended her on Facebook, and told her about a great opportunity to invest in Bitcoin.
“Facebook actually was how it started, a girl reached out to me, started talking to me, it was like a friendship,” said Elizabeth.
Keith was instructed by a company out of the UK to put $300 into a cryptocurrency app, Coinbase. She did, and then sent those funds to the company. Not only did she never get back the initial investment, but she was asked to pay a fee to withdraw her money.
Keith eventually realized she had been scammed.
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are becoming more mainstream, and for some, have led to a big pay day. As more people look to invest in the digital currency, more cryptocurrency scams are on the rise.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported earlier this year that it had received nearly 7,000 complaints about cryptocurrency scams between October 2020 and March 2021, with reported losses of more than $80 million. The median loss for those reports was $1,900.
The FTC saw a 12-fold increase in cryptocurrency scam reports and nearly 1,000% more in reported losses from the same time period the previous year.
The Mountain West division of the Better Business Bureau has seen a reported $6,688 in losses from consumers in Utah and Northern Nevada since April.
“It’s a huge risk, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing or how cryptocurrency works. 1000 plus is what we’re seeing people put in, because they’re being told they can make huge returns on their investment, of course that’s not realistic but if you haven’t done your research you don't know what to expect and what’s fair and reasonable to assume,” said Britta Clark with the BBB.