Experts warn of cryptocurrency scams

QUINCY (WGEM) – Cryptocurrency has surged in popularity across the world., but local officials say you should be on the lookout for scams.

In 2021 alone, the Better Business Bureau reported that thousands of complaints were filed about cryptocurrency scams, totaling over $7,000,000 worth of losses.

Some of the newer cryptocurrency scams involve tricking you to make an investment. Scammers promise quick money, ask for more money for consumers to access their investments, and then eventually disappear.

Other scams target consumers by sending them QR codes for a cryptocurrency payment, only to steal that money afterward.

Officials say one of the most unique aspects of these scams is that they target a younger audience.

“We’re seeing a lot of younger people, younger consumers, that are victimized in this. Our BBB Scamtracker showed that the 24-to-35-year-old age group was probably the most susceptible to this scam. We believe that is because they are a little bit more comfortable dealing with, you know, digital technology. They’ve grown up with that,” said Quincy Better Business Bureau regional direct Don O’Brien.

O’Brien said cryptocurrency can be nearly untraceable, so consumers should be careful about deciding to get involved with cryptocurrency.

“It doesn’t have the same protections as if you put your money inside a bank. If a local bank is robbed, that money is insured. The FDIC is going to insure that money. If for some reason you put money into a cryptocurrency plan, and that money is somehow lost, there is no insurance there. That money is just gone with the wind,” said O’Brien.

He said there have not been any victims reported in the Tri-States yet, it will likely arrive in the region soon.

O’Brien said if you believe you have been scammed, you should report it to local law enforcement and the better business bureau. However, he warns that it is very unlikely to get stolen money back.

The full study released this week by the Better Business Bureau, detailing the risk posed by cryptocurrency scams is at the bottom of this story.

The maps below show the locations of crypto-capable ATM’s in Quincy, Hannibal, Palmyra, and Keokuk.

Quincy ATMs that provide cryptocurrency transactions.(Better Business Bureau)
Hannibal and Palmyra ATMs that provide cryptocurrency transactions.(Better Business Bureau)
Keokuk ATMs that provide cryptocurrency transactions.(Better Business Bureau)

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