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Scammed in a crypto transaction? Here’s where you can go

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Scammed in a crypto transaction? Here’s where you can go

The Federal Trade Commission provides the following advice on its website on how to avoid crypto rip-offs. Much of it matches up with other sources.

No one should ask you to pay for something in advance with cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency payments do not come with legal protections, like debit cads and credit cards. If something goes wrong — meaning you don’t get what is promised — you are probably out of luck.

Before buying something with crypto, research the seller’s reputation. For instance, a search of Ryan “Brody” Crawford’s Miami-Dade court online record would show lawsuits over sizable bum checks written on a defunct account.

Only scammers will guarantee profits or big returns.

Never mix online dating and investment advice. If you meet someone on a dating site or app and they want to show you how to invest in crypto or ask you to send them crypto, run.

Other pitfalls

A so-called “investment manager” contacts you out of the blue. They promise to grow your money — but only if you buy cryptocurrency and transfer it into their online account. The investment website they steer you to may look real, but there’s a good chance it’s fake, and so are their promises. If you log in to your “investment account,” you may not be able to withdraw your money at all, or only if you pay high fees.

Bitcoin is the best known of the cryptocurrencies. But even it can be used to engineer scams.

A scammer pretends to be a famous person who can multiply any cryptocurrency you send them. One of these involves a fake President Biden saying send me crypto. Presidents don’t operate that way and neither do celebrities.

Scammers promising free money. They’ll offer free cash or cryptocurrency, but free money promises are always fake.

Scammers who make big claims without details or explanations. No matter what the investment, find out how it works and ask questions about where your money is going. Honest investment managers or advisors want to share that information and will back it up with verifiable details.

Scammers impersonating well-known companies. These come in waves, and scammers might say they’re from Amazon, Microsoft, FedEx or your bank. They’ll text, call, email, or send messages on social media — or maybe put a pop-up alert on your computer. They might say there’s fraud on your account or that your money is at risk — and you can fix it by sending crypto. Don’t.

Scammers impersonating new or established businesses and offering fraudulent crypto coins or tokens. They’ll say the company is entering the crypto world by issuing its own coin or token. This is often a scam.

Beware of blackmail scams: Scammers might send emails or U.S. mail to your home saying they have embarrassing or compromising photos, videos, or personal information about you. They may cite an old password of yours, which can be acquired in the darker corners of the internet, as evidence they have hijacked your online security. Then, they threaten to make whatever the information is public unless you pay them in cryptocurrency. That is a criminal matter for the FBI.

Resources: How to report

The FTC at reportfraud.ftc.gov

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) at CFTC.gov/complaint

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at ic3.gov/Home/FileComplaint

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