San Francisco: People lost crypto worth over $185 million in the US via romance scams in the first quarter this year, as fraudsters use new means to rob their victims, with romance scams featuring prominently.
Nearly 46,000 Americans reported losing over $1 billion in crypto to scams since early 2021, according to a recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report.
According to an analysis by BanklessTimes, romance scams are the second most common type of crypto scams.
“Victims of romance scams learn that the heart is not so smart the hard way. Their search for love makes them easy pickings for conniving individuals that dupe them out of their money,” said Jonathan Merry, CEO of BanklessTimes.
On average, victims of romance crypto scams lose about $10,000.
After hooking the victim, the fraudsters will “offer advice” on how to invest in crypto.
“By now, the victims are so trusting that they’re willing to follow their ‘advice’ to their detriment,” said the report.
Business and government impersonation scams are the other forms. These accounted for losses of $133 million in Q1 2022. These involve the fraudster impersonating someone in authority and then gaining the victim’s credentials.
Younger people are more susceptible to crypto scams. Statistics show that most likely victims are in the 20 to 40-age bracket.
“The worst hit are people in their thirties, who suffer 35 per cent of the losses. People in their seventies lose nearly $12,000 in these scams,” said Elizabeth Kerr, a financial content specialist.
But romance scams aren’t the only ones that Americans fall for.
The most common type of crypto fraud are investment scams and since 2021, the US FTC has received complaints of losses totaling $575 million due to this kind of fraud.