The Department of Financial Protection and Innovation has taken a significant step towards safeguarding Californians from cryptocurrency scams. In an announcement, the agency unveiled the DFPI Crypto Scam Tracker, “a database searchable by company name, scam type, or keywords.”
As per the DFPI, scammers are exploiting people’s growing interest in digital assets to prey on vulnerable individuals in California. The move is in response to the increasing prevalence of scams in the crypto space and is part of the department’s commitment to protecting consumers and investors.
With the Tracker, consumers and investors can research complaints and scams that the public has reported. The goal is to help individuals spot and avoid crypto scams, thereby preventing harm to themselves and others.
DFPI Commissioner Clothilde Hewlett stated:
Scammers are in the shadows, using the public’s interest in crypto assets to take advantage of the most vulnerable Californians. 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.”
How the Crypto Scam Tracker Works
The Crypto Scam Tracker also features a glossary designed to help users better understand common scams. The DFPI will continue to update the database as new scams are reported, enabling prompt alerts to protect the public.
Each year, the DFPI receives thousands of consumer and investor complaints. Among the most reported are imposter scams, which are also challenging for individuals to detect.
As per the DFPI’s findings, imposter websites are frequently reported scams. These websites or companies often have names that resemble those of legitimate businesses or websites operating in the same market.
This can create significant confusion for consumers, making them vulnerable to exploitation by bad actors seeking to profit from unsuspecting victims. By taking advantage of this confusion, scammers can easily mislead individuals into making fraudulent transactions.
Moreover, among the 36 complaints currently recorded in the Tracker, the predominant cases involved social media and social engineering scams. These fraudulent schemes typically involve users being deceived into taking action through scams on platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, TikTok, and dating apps.
Furthermore, a significant proportion of these complaints, around Four-fifths, are categorized by the DFPI as “pig-butchering scams,” which are essentially social engineering ploys employed by scammers to build a rapport and gain the victim’s trust.
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