Cryptocurrency scams on the rise

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The Better Business Bureau has been tracking cryptocurrency scams and determined that they’re a growing trend. In fact, over the course of 2021, they received three times more reports than ever before.

Cryptocurrency scams are pretty tricky. Lots of people don’t know just what to look for yet when it comes to red flags. The problem is made even more difficult when scams are as convincing as the one faced by victim Matthew Henderson. It all started with a friend request on Facebook.

“According to this page, we had at least 90 plus mutual friends, so I decided to accept his friend request”, Matthew says.

That new friend sent a message, saying he was an accountant who could get Matthew started with cryptocurrency. Matthew, drawn in by ads and celebrity endorsements he’d seen, decided to try it out. Just to be safe, he asked for a video chat, which the accountant agreed to. “From that point on, I was sold”, says Matthew.

The accountant was well-polished and well-spoken, and eventually led Matthew through the process of signing up for websites and wallet accounts, all very professionally done. When a small test investment made a profit in the first week, Matthew decided to go all-in.

“I ended up putting $5000 in”, he says. “A week afterward it was already up to about $12,000.”

That was a good time to cash out, except Matthew couldn’t cash out. He got in touch with the “accountant”, who was now starting to show his true colors.

As Matthew recalls, “He said, ‘Oh, there’s an accountant fee for when you try to cash out, so it’s a thousand-dollar fee’.”

A few days later, and still nothing. The accountant said there were another $2000 in fees that needed to be paid. After still no progress, Matthew asked to speak to a supervisor. That request was granted, although the supervisor wanted to communicate through WhatsApp. Finally, Matthew went to check on his investments that were still locked in the system, and they’d disappeared.

“I cannot get my $8000 back”, he says, “but if people who are in my situation can hear this, maybe it will stop them from losing money.”

Matthew says you can never ask too many questions, and even in retrospect, he says the entire experience was convincing. Matthew doesn’t suggest that cryptocurrency is a scam itself, but he does caution people to keep reasonable expectations, and to realize they won’t necessarily get rich overnight.

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