Security Articles & Alerts

Stats: Cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency— a blockchain-based digital currency which only exists electronically — has been a hot button topic for investors and fraud investigators alike. Because crypto is not connected to regulator banks or government insurance, fraudsters have found a rich decentralized market to commit their scams.

  • Scammers around the world took home a record $14 billion in cryptocurrency in 2021, thanks in large part to the rise of DeFi, or Decentralized Financing.
  • Losses from crypto-related crime rose 79% from 2020.
  • Cryptocurrency theft increased 516% from 2020, to $3.2 billion worth of cryptocurrency. Of this total, 72% of stolen funds were taken from DeFi protocols.
  • Consumers between the ages of 20-49 are five times more likely to report losing money to a cryptocurrency investment scam.

Trending: Romance Scams
According to the Federal Trade Commission victims of romance scams lost $547 Million in 2021, an 80% increase from the year before. Any age range is a target for this scam, but the loss is highest for victims 70 and over, where median loss is $9,000.00. While many of these scams start on dating sites over one third of reported romance scams began on Facebook and Instagram.

Using attractive photos swiped from social media accounts fraudsters create a persona to lure victims in, often weaving in excuses for not being able to meet in person. Some claim to be traveling outside of the US, deployed in the military, working on an oil rig, or a doctor working abroad. While scammers will say anything to convince victims to send money, their standby is often a plea for help due to a financial or health crisis, asking the victim to send money, gift cards or even cryptocurrency. More recently scammers have also begun promoting investment opportunities.

Some tips to avoid romance scams:

  • Never give personal or banking information out over social media to anyone
  • Never send money, gift cards or cryptocurrency to someone you have never met in person and never follow their investment advice
  • Talk to someone you trust (and listen if they’re concerned about your love interest)

Check out the latest on Romance Scams.

Spotlight: Tax Season
As the New Year begins, the Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers to protect their personal and financial information throughout the year and watch out for IRS impersonation scams, along with other schemes, that try to trick people out of their hard-earned money.

These schemes can involve text message scams, e-mail schemes and phone scams. The IRS also warns people to watch out for signs of potential unemployment fraud.

Quick reminders:

  • Text message scams: Do NOT click links or open attachments in unsolicited, suspicious or unexpected text messages – whether from the IRS, state tax agencies or others in the tax community.
  • Email phishing scams: The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.
  • Phone scams: The IRS does not leave pre-recorded, urgent or threatening messages. Criminals can fake or “spoof” caller ID numbers to appear to be anywhere in the country, including from an IRS office. This prevents taxpayers from being able to verify the true call number.
  • Unemployment fraud: Watch out for claims of unemployment or other benefit payments for which you never applied. States have experienced a surge in fraudulent unemployment claims filed by organized crime rings using stolen identities. Criminals are using these stolen identities to fraudulently collect benefits.

Learn more about tax scams.

If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, contact our Customer Care Center immediately at (617) 969-4300 and report it to the FTC at reportfraud.ftc.gov.

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