Crypto scams are preying on vulnerable people. Many victims are deceived online, including an elderly woman who lost thousands.

Cryptocurrency scams are on the rise, with victims often being tricked out of thousands of dollars.

This is backed up by recent data from the FTC, which shows that since October 2020, consumers have reported losing more than $80 million to cryptocurrency scams. This represents an increase of more than ten-fold year-on-year.

In one such case, a 77-year-old woman lost more than $12,000 after being lured into a bitcoin scam, Chicago Tribune reported. The incident occurred after the Indiana-based woman received an email alert last month claiming to warn her of fraudulent activity on her PayPal account. 

She was advised to buy $3,500 in bitcoin on the cryptocurrency trading platform, Coinbase, and was later instructed to share her bank information, the outlet reported. This led to six withdrawals totaling $8,800 and the scammer eventually stealing over $12,000 from her.

The incident forms part of a recent surge in cryptocurrency-related scams or accusations of wrongdoing.

On Thursday, members of esports organization FaZe Clan were suspended following allegations that their Save the Children cryptocurrency may have been a scam, per Insider’s Steven Asarch

Kotatku reported that tons of fans “pumped money into this scheme, believing their  investment was protected by the high profile of those endorsing it, only to see their money disappear almost overnight.” 

“FaZe Clan had absolutely no involvement with our members’ activity in the cryptocurrency space and we strongly condemn their recent behavior,” a statement posted on Twitter by FaZe Clan said.

In another incident, an online dating user became embroiled in a cryptocurrency scam that lost him £20,000 in May, The Guardian reported on Saturday. The user, who was given the pseudonym James Evans by the outlet, said he had felt like he built a “genuine connection” with a man on Grindr but soon became aware he was manipulated into a scam. 

Crypto scammers often go to great lengths to lure their victims. In the Indiana case, Chicago Tribune reported that the woman received an email that stated almost $500 had been drawn out of her account and that she would need to call a specific number to rectify the issue.

Once she was on the line, a man convinced her to invest in the currency. He offered to walk the woman through the complicated purchase by accessing her phone via a screen-sharing facility. 

Upon instruction, she shared her bank information and even provided the scammer with a state photo ID of herself. 

“It does seem that at a certain age, too many people can be susceptible to these type of scams,” Chesterton police sergeant Dave Virijevich told the Chicago Tribune. “These types of criminals prey on the genuine goodness of people. They’re preying on their trusting nature,” he added.

Eventually, her bank helped the woman retrieve a small fraction —$2,000 — of the money she had lost.