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After the 'Tinder Swindler', the FBI is now warning about the rise in romance scams

Business Insider US
Scammers are hooking investors and singletons with the promise of crypto riches
  • The FBI has warned that romance scams are on the rise, with $64 millionn (R967 million) lost in the Bay Area alone in 2021.
  • A recent survey by eToro showed 33% of Americans are more likely to go on a date with someone that talks about crypto.
  • Crypto is increasingly becoming a part of everyday life as the NYT reported its now contented in divorces.
  • For more stories visit www.BusinessInsider.co.za

Cryptocurrencies come with a number of health warnings attached, including their high volatility and the degree of regulation consumer protections they come with.

The FBI is now warning people that "romance scams", much like those in Netflix's latest true crime documentary, The Tinder Swindler, are not only on the rise, they also increasingly involve crypto.

In a report late last week, the FBI said in the Bay Area alone, $64 million (R967 million) was lost to romance scams in 2021 alone, almost double the $35 million(R528 million) lost the previous year and crypto is definitely part of that increase.

"The FBI San Francisco has seen a rising trend in which romance scammers are persuading individuals to send money to invest or trade cryptocurrency. After gaining the confidence and trust of the victim, the scammer then directs the victim to a fraudulent website or application for an investment opportunity," the report said. 

Regulators and central bankers dislike crypto. Politicians have more mixed views. But regular people are definitely warming to it in more ways than one.

Online broker eToro found in a recent survey of 2,000 adults, that one in three Americans said they would be more likely to go out with someone that mentions their crypto on their dating profile.

When it comes to securing that second date, crypto comes in handy again, according to eToro, with 74% of respondents saying they would be interested in a second date with a person that paid the bill in bitcoin. 

But even if you manage to avoid the scammers and find love through crypto, that doesn't mean you're exempt from pain, as the New York Times reports that dividing crypto has become a contentious issue in divorce cases.  

While there's no formula for a happy divorce, the FBI did release a list of tips for protecting against crypto romance scams, which includes the following advice:

  • Never send money, trade, or invest per the advice of someone you have solely met online.
  • Do not disclose your current financial status to unknown and untrusted individuals.
  • Do not provide your banking information, Social Security Number, copies of your identification or passport, or any other sensitive information to anyone online or to a site you do not know is legitimate.
  • If an online investment or trading site is promoting unbelievable profits, it is most likely that—unbelievable.
  • Be cautious of individuals who claim to have exclusive investment opportunities and urge you to act fast. 

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