Romance Crypto Scams Mooched Off Over $185 Million from Love-Seeking Americans in One Year: Report

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Crypto holders in America have caught the eye of cryptocurrency scammers big time. Mooching crypto assets off unsuspecting investors under the pretence of love and romance has emerged among the most common methods of scamming people in the US. This result was found in an analysis conducted by transparency advocate and publisher, the BanklessTimes. The report claims that Americans crypto investors lost $185 million (roughly Rs. 1,500 crore) between January 2021 and March 2022 to romance scams and over $1 billion (roughly Rs. 8,000 crore) in total to other fraudulent activities.

“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. They put on an elaborate con that has their victims swooning over them, and by the time the victim catches on, they’ll be several thousand dollars poor,” Jonathan Merry, the CEO of BanklessTimes said in a statement.

In 2021, a team of Sophos cybersecurity researchers had identified a Bitcoin wallet filled with tokens worth $1.4 million (roughly Rs. 10 crores) that were collected by conning people on popular dating apps such as Bumble and Tinder.

In recent times, instances of romance scams that hit people have emerged on social media as well.

In fact, the unit of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in El Paso, Texas, has also posted a tweet warning online daters against sharing personal and sensitive information with potential suitors.

The report has further highlighted that younger people, between the age group of 20 and 40 in the US, are at more risk of being scammed as compared to elderly investors.

The worst hit are people in their thirties, who suffer 35 percent of the losses.

On the other hand, when elderly crypto investors get conned, they tend to lose more money — even as high as $ 12,000 (roughly Rs. 9.5 lakh) in these scams.

Along with romance frauds, Americans are also losing money to investment scams.

Investment scammers promise huge returns quickly, only for them to divert the fund to their crypto wallets. Others set up fake sites that enable investors to track their crypto portfolios while also offering ‘test withdrawals’.

Business and government imposters are also constantly on the lookout for victims that can be duped.

“These accounted for losses of $133 million (roughly Rs. 1,100 crore). These involve the fraudster impersonating someone in authority and then gaining the victim’s credentials,” the report noted.

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