PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Get-rich-quick scams are prevalent on social media. Most recently, a cryptocurrency scam is sweeping through TikTok.
According to the Better Business Bureau, it starts with a scam artist posting a video of a large pile of cash. They claim they made the money in just a few days by investing in cryptocurrency and can do the same for you.
When you contact the con artist through a messaging app such as WhatsApp or Telegram, they will politely and professionally ask you to send money through a digital wallet service such as PayPal, Zelle or Venmo. They may also have you purchase the cryptocurrency yourself and transfer it to them.
After you send the money—likely a few hundred dollars at first—the scammer will refuse to give you the supposed "earnings" from their "investment" on your behalf.
They may ask you to pay fees on the money they earned for you. They will attempt to convince you that since you will be receiving thousands of dollars thanks to their hard work, another few hundred is nothing.
Con artists will continue this scam as long as their victim falls for it. They may ask for even more "fees" or resort to scare tactics such as the threat of no monetary return or legal action if their victim refuses to continue to cooperate.
Any money that the victim sends will just end up in the scammer's pocket. There will be no return on the investment and no reimbursement of the initial deposit or subsequent fees.
Use these tips to detect and avoid get-rich-quick scams:
- Use good judgment. Get-rich-quick schemes and investments that are guaranteed to give you a huge return are nearly always scams. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Do your research. Before you contact someone through TikTok or another social media platform, look up their name, phone number and company name (if they have one) online. If they have conned others, you’ll likely find complaints online about it.
- Don’t give into scare tactics. If an “investor” contacts you, they may try to convince you the investment will only work if you act right now. Or, if you’ve already sent them funds, they may threaten you with legal action if you don’t pay their fees. In any case, don’t give in to scare tactics. Recognize them as the hallmarks of a scam.
- Understand how digital wallet services work. Treat any money you send through a digital wallet service like cash. Once you send the money, there will be little you can do to get it back if it turns out you were scammed. It’s best to use these apps only with people you know and trust.