Police in Green Bay, Wisconsin, report that local citizens have lost more than a quarter of million dollars to cryptocurrency scams since 2020.
As the crypto industry fights for wider adoption and seeks to cast off the stigma around crypto as a common vehicle for money laundering and other malfeasance, the sheer scale of citizens’ losses in a mid-sized US city is unlikely to help.
Crypto Fraud Takes Green Bay Citizens for a Ride
As WBAY News reported Wednesday, Green Bay police released data showing a total loss of $195,200 thus far in 2023. The figure is higher than in any other year for which figures are available, and that’s just the theft that citizens have reported.
Since 2020, the local story stated, Green Bay police have received no fewer than 28 reports of crypto theft. The total amount stolen? $273,893.
A highly common modus operandi is for the scammers is to tell citizens that they have incurred some kind of debt or fee, in connection with a technical issue or the delivery of a package, according to the WBAY story.
The bad actors then instruct the victims to send them cryptocurrency to allay the fee, or to convert their money into crypto and then pay. In some cases, they offer to stay on the phone and talk the unwitting victims through the entire process of parting with their hard-earned money.
Green Bay Police Captain Jeff Brester said legitimate companies and government agencies will never ask citizens to pay in crypto.
Once the bad actors receive what they have demanded, it is virtually impossible to get the money back. The scammers are often in foreign jurisdictions and their real identities are unknown.
FTC Just Warned About Demands for Payment in Crypto
The figures that Green Bay law enforcement have released may sound like an ironic comment on the inefficacy of current policies to thwart online and crypto scams.
The type of crime that the Midwestern city’s police identified is all too common. In fact, the Green Bay police announcement came just two days after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a stern warning about the very same criminal modus operandi.
People should never pay a fee in crypto as part of a job application. Nor should they ever invest money in a platform that a stranger on a dating site told them about.
Romance scams, pig butchering scams, and imposter scams, involving bad actors who claim to be members even of the highest echelons of law enforcement, no know geographical bounds.
As a Middle American city long thought to be a safe and quiet place has learned the hard way.
Top crypto platforms in the US | November 2023
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