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California regulator launches complaint-based crypto scam tracker

The agency appears to have taken action after receiving thousands of investor and consumer complaints about alleged cryptocurrency frauds each year. To assist traders and investors in identifying potential dangers to the industry, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation has introduced a new cryptocurrency fraud tracker.

On February 16, zDFPI made the tracker public. It is based on user complaints, with the agency maintaining a record of grievances on cryptocurrency from victims who allege to have been duped or have discovered attempted dupes.

The mentioned complaints are accounts of losses incurred in transactions that victims have identified as being a part of a dishonest or fraudulent scheme. The DFPI acknowledged that it has not independently validated any of the listed scams, but added that it nonetheless receives thousands of investor and consumer complaints annually.

Scammers are in the shadows using the public’s interest in crypto assets to take advantage of the most vulnerable Californians,” said DFPI Commissioner Clothilde Hewlett. She added that the department was taking action to identify them:

“Through the new Crypto Scam Tracker, combined with rigorous enforcement efforts, the DFPI is committed to shining a light on these ruthless predators and protecting consumers and investors.”

The 36 complaints that have already been added to the tracker were mostly social media and social engineering schemes, in which users were tricked into acting by means of fraud on Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, TikTok, and dating apps.

The DFPI refers to four out of five of them as “pig-butchering scams,” which are simply attempts by con artists to build a rapport and gain confidence with the victim.

DFPI spokeswoman Elizabeth Smith said that “We have heard from consumers that scam alerts help them avoid similar scams.”

Imposter websites are also one of the most commonly reported scams, according to the DFPI. “When companies or websites (fake or not) have a look- or sound-alike names, the potential confusion created for consumers is real,” it said.

The tracker also has a search function enabling users to look up potentially fraudulent websites or crypto projects in advance.

 

 

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