Recently a victim of a crypto scam? You’re not alone. Scammers made $24 million in bitcoin in the first half of 2020 — and they’re not slowing down anytime soon, according to a new report by crypto watchdog Whale Alert.
Whale Alert, best known for monitoring and tweeting about particularly large crypto transactions, collected and analyzed data from reports, websites and bitcoin addresses using their new blockchain crime tracking tool, Scam Alert. Their conclusion? “Crypto crime pays. A lot.”
According to the report, scammers have stolen $38 million in bitcoin in the last four years, excluding Ponzi schemes. Whale Alert projected that by the end of 2020, bitcoin scammers will be generating at least $50 million in annual revenue.
The scam market is flourishing because scams have become more believable and aggressive, said Whale Alert. For instance, giveaway scams are getting more sophisticated. These scams use the identities of celebrities like Elon Musk, coupled with YouTube advertising and a bitcoin address, to fool people into sending bitcoin. Whale Alert said the improved methodology suggests professionals may be behind some of the most successful of these scams.
According to the report, while there are many different types of scams, all of them one thing in common: the criminals behind them face almost no risk of getting caught.
“One thing is very clear: whatever is being done right now to stop these criminals is not enough and if we don’t act as a community, the reputation of blockchain might not be able to recover in the long run,” the report concluded.