A new year is a time for new scams: Be careful

Here’s a New Year’s resolution we could all benefit from: be vigilant about cryptocurrency scams. According to the Federal Trade Commission, fraud involving crypto investment schemes and crypto as payment in other schemes has skyrocketed in 2022. Reported losses exceeded $1 billion.

In the past year, the evergreen online romance scam has morphed into a crypto “investment opportunity” — starting with platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, in addition to dating sites and apps. The target can see their assets increase in value as they continue to invest more money, only the crypto exchange they are on is fake. When they try to cash out, they are told they have to pay the excessive fees first and they won’t get the money back.

In crypto-as-payment schemes, criminals convince targets that some urgent matter requires a quick payment and direct them to a nearby crypto-ATM that converts cash into electronic currency. These losses are practically irreplaceable.

The best way to avoid these scams—anyone, really—is to know about them so you can avoid getting involved in the first place. Seek investment advice from a financial advisor, and anyone who pressures you to pay with cryptocurrencies to deal with urgent or time-sensitive matters is a criminal.

Become a fraud fighter! If you can point fraud, you can Stop fraud.

Report scams to local law enforcement. For assistance from AARP, call 1-877-908-3360 or visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.

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