The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation launched the Crypto Scam Tracker, a new website designed to help Californians spot and avoid crypto scams.
“Scammers are in the shadows using the public’s interest in crypto assets to take advantage of the most vulnerable Californians,” DFPI Commissioner Clothilde Hewlett said in a statement.
“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.”
Launched on Feb. 16, the tracker is a database searchable by company name, scam type or keywords so Californians can learn more about the complaints the department has received about specific cryptocurrency websites.
The database will be constantly updated to alert the public of new crypto scams, a news release said.
The most common crypto scams are “imposter” websites, according to the DFPI.
“When companies or websites (fake or not) have a look- or sound-alike names, the potential confusion created for consumers is real,” the news release said. “Attempting to take advantage of such confusion is a tactic employed by some bad actors looking to profit from unsuspecting consumers.”
For example, the search result for “Coinbase” showed multiple instances where people lost thousands of dollars by investing in fictitious websites that closely resembled the actual coinbase website.
In one instance, one “victim met a person on WeChat who convinced her to invest in cryptocurrency mining. The victim followed the scammer’s instructions to transfer $12,000 to a cryptocurrency exchange and then to the site coinbase.iii36.vip to begin mining,” the website stated.
The “victim tried to withdraw money from her account but was told she needed to wait 24 hours. Soon after, she noticed that all her cryptocurrency had been transferred from her crypto wallet.”
To avoid these scams, officials urge the public to report instances of crypto scams to the department by calling 866-275-2677 or by filling out a complaint with the DFPI online.