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Cryptocurrency Scam Victims Get No Help From Authorities

As cryptocurrency investment in the U.S. skyrockets, scams are rapidly multiplying in the lightly regulated province of crypto, with each boosted wallet and disappeared dollar underscoring just how mainstream the thievery has become. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that Americans lost $750 million to crypto scams in 2021, and the number could rise this year, the Washington Post reports. Law enforcement has been slow to rise to the challenge. The Justice Department announced a task force focusing on cryptocurrencies, but it’s still very new and it remains to be seen how many scammers it can investigate, let alone arrest. Victims say that despite numerous attempts to alert law enforcement, they’ve yet to be contacted by authorities, leading them to believe no agency is even aware of the scam, let alone investigating it. Instead, they have organized on their own, in Reddit and Facebook groups, to commiserate and strategize. Regulators and Congress have yet to develop a robust set of rules that would impose strict standards of behavior and enforcement. The companies involved, including the large crypto platform Coinbase and the currency Tether, have basically told the victims “buyer beware.” “This is really, really hard because crypto is so thinly regulated and folks are used to picking up the phone and calling 911,” said Joe Rotunda, enforcement director of the Texas State Securities Board, which investigates investment scams. “Oftentimes, the law enforcement agencies deal with violent crimes or street crimes. They simply don’t have the resources necessary to prosecute a case like this and don’t know where to turn.”

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