Jun 17, 2022 - Economy

FBI warns LinkedIn users on crypto fraud

Illustration of piggy bank wearing a robber’s mask

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The FBI is working closely with LinkedIn to combat crypto-related fraud on the platform.

Why it matters: The FBI has opened investigations, saying scams pose a "significant threat," a field office agent told CNBC, which first reported the story.

What's happening: Criminal rings are exploiting people's trust in LinkedIn as a reliable place for networking.

  • Schemers create fake profiles and reach out to real people on LinkedIn, under the guise of helping them make money through crypto.
  • Victims told CNBC that they tended to believe the investments they're presented with as legitimate.
  • CNBC recently talked to a group of victims whose losses ranged from $200,000 to $1.6 million.

The big picture: Between January 2021 and March 2022, scammers siphoned $575 million from victims in bogus crypto investment schemes, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

  • Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and Telegram came up most frequently in crypto fraud reports.

What to watch: "While our defenses catch the vast majority of abusive activity, our members can also help keep LinkedIn safe," Oscar Rodriguez, LinkedIn's senior director of trust, privacy and equity, wrote in a blog post.

  • The platform removed roughly 32 million fake accounts last year, according to LinkedIn's transparency reports.
  • For context, there are currently more than 830 million people on the site.

Our thought bubble, via Axios Crypto's Brady Dale: Scammers are always finding new ways to build credibility. A part of becoming sophisticated in crypto is learning how to spot these things.

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