You’ve likely heard a lot about cryptocurrency in the last year and a half.
Google search trends show more people in Jacksonville have been searching it in the last year than any other time in the last 4 years.
And the Better Business Bureau says scammers are taking advantage of that interest.
Its new Scam Tracker Risk Report found cryptocurrency scams are now the second riskiest type of scam -- jumping up from seventh in 2020.
It says only 1.9% of the scams reported were related to cryptocurrency, but 66% of the people targeted lost money.
The average amount lost was $1,200.
“Scammers shift their tactics constantly and appear to have expanded their use of cryptocurrency to perpetrate fraud,” said Melissa Lanning Trumpower, executive director of the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, which produced the 2021 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report.
The age group targeted most often in these cases are people ages 25 to 64.
The BBB says scammers use social media and promise investment opportunities with great returns and low risk.
And in a lot of those cases, the offers came from their friends’ social media accounts -- which had been hacked.
The BBB says the first red flag should be when anyone offers you quick money with little risk.
Always check directly with the friend who appears to be making the offer before clicking a link or paying them money.
And never use an online payment system to pay someone you don’t know.
More than 44% reported losing confidence or peace of mind because of the emotional impact of being targeted by a scam and about 35% reported losing personal information. About the same percentage of people (55.5%) reported losing time as reported losing money after being targeted by a scam.
“Time is money, and our survey results reflected this,” Trumpower explained. “We can’t ignore the fact that there are many other non-financial impacts of being targeted by a scam.”