A new type of criminal preys on the hopeless romantic out there, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned.
According to the watchdog, some $139m in cryptocurrency was tied up in romance scams in 2021.
Romance scammers often prey on lonely individuals who are inclined to take risks for the chance of finding happiness on the internet.
The “catfishers”, which is another term for the scammers, create fake profiles on social media and use pictures from the internet to convince people into sending them money.
Not all exploit this romantic sentiment. Some of the social profiles also claim to be “financial experts” who promise to take the money and invest it cleverly in cryptocurrency or the stock market.
Scammers also asked for gift cards, owing to their hard-to-trace nature, with victims losing $36m on gift cards alone. An additional $121m was paid through bank transfers or other forms of payments, the FTC warned.
The FTC has cautioned consumers not to send funds to strangers. In 2021, the FBI reiterated that requesting payments in crypto was one of the tell-tale signs of scammers as those currencies are naturally much harder to trace than a bank transfer and have a higher likelihood of being connected to fraud.
The FTC recommends using a reverse image search on a profile’s picture to see if it appears under different names.
In the meantime, the best way of using your crypto in a fun way is not to give it away to unknown romantic partners, but play at casinos such as 1xBit, FortuneJack or Bitcasino.