By District Attorney Summer Stephan
Scammers know that everyday people don’t want to miss out on making easy money on “the next big thing.” Today, that next big thing is cryptocurrency. You’ve likely heard the terms tossed around on social media or in the news: Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, blockchain, and NFT. Stories related to cryptocurrency portray people making significant amounts of money in the blink of an eye. With all the excitement related to these newer technologies, it’ is easy to get caught up in the hype.
Because most people are unfamiliar with how cryptocurrency works or its associated risks, the world of digital currency is a dream scenario for con artists.
Here are some quick facts related to cryptocurrency:
Getting scammed out of your hard-earned money can happen with just a few clicks. Bad actors may pose as a friend or family member on social media, or the scammer may pretend to be an investment manager offering to help you invest in cryptocurrency. Since this is not a regulated currency, it is very easy to transfer a significant amount of money into cryptocurrency, which becomes almost instantly untraceable. At first a victim may be able to monitor their “investment.” But when it comes time access those funds, the investor quickly finds out they cannot access their money.
Protecting yourself and being aware of these scammers is your first line of defense. Here are some tips to help prevent falling prey to crypto-related scams:
Before you act, stop and think. Crypto scammers use urgency as a tool to trick their victims into making a bad decision. ‘You have to act now,’ or ‘send crypto to this address’ are hallmark signs that you are dealing with a scammer.
If you fall victim to any of these types of scams, don’t be embarrassed. Report the scam to your law enforcement agency. These types of crimes often go unreported because people feel foolish that they were duped.
As your District Attorney, I’m committed to increasing communication and accessibility between the DA’s Office and the public. I hope these consumer and public safety tips have been helpful.