The Federal Bureau of Investigation's latest elder fraud report found U.S. senior citizens were robbed of more than $1 billion through cryptocurrency scams last year, a staggering 78% increase from 2021 that has experts warning older Americans to be on the lookout and protect themselves.
Bankless Times recently analyzed the data and reported a fourfold increase in crypto crime over the past 12 months, noting the most common scams in 2022 were investment related.
"Beware of unsolicited messages, emails or social media contacts, particularly if they promote investment opportunities or giveaways," BanklessTimes.com CEO Jonathan Merry warned in a statement.
"Scammers will often use these methods to target unsuspecting individuals," Merry continued. "Always verify the legitimacy of such offers through independent sources or discuss them with a relative before you take any action."
The outlet noted the surge in crypto crimes targeting Americans aged 60 and above is particularly alarming given data indicating that more than half of older adults admit to having little or no knowledge of cryptocurrencies, and pointed to several red flags that may signal a loved one has fallen prey to this type of fraud.
Bankless Times says some of the warning signs that an elderly person is a victim of crypto crimes include them opening an account at a crypto exchange without having prior knowledge of digital currencies, making numerous transfers to a crypto wallet for unexplained reasons, making frequent purchases of crypto assets, and making large withdrawals from their bank or retirement accounts to buy crypto.