The cryptocurrency industry is starting 2023 amid growing fraud concerns.
The FBI and other agencies raise concerns about an online scam called “pig butchering.”
FBI Public Affairs Officer Frank Fisher says “We’re not talking about what’s going on on farms, we’re talking about a cryptocurrency investment scam that is sweeping the country. It is costing Americans billions of dollars in losses.”
Authorities are urging you to be careful when getting random texts or messages through social media with invitations to start investing in cryptocurrencies.
Fisher says when you finally ask for your money — it’s disappeared.
In the past few days, several crypto-related headlines have sent a chill through an already anxious community.
Sam Bankman-Fried — the founder of failed crypto exchange platform FTX — pleaded not guilty this month to federal fraud and conspiracy charges linked to his company’s meltdown.
Then, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged six people in an investment scheme called “coin-deal” that raised more than $45 million on false promises of access to blockchain technology.
Also this month, US regulators have issued their first joint statement warning banks and others about the risks of fraud, volatility, and poor risk management in the crypto world.
So, what can you do to avoid becoming a victim?
Law enforcement officials say scammers usually target their victims by sending mass texts hoping someone takes the bait.
According to Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeffrey Rosen, these criminals have been trained in physical deception techniques — “in techniques to gain people’s trust.”