Cryptocurrency investment scams on LinkedIn have increased recently, with some victims reporting losses of as much as $1.2 million, CNBC reported Friday. The FBI told CNBC the fraudsters pose “a significant threat” to users.
“This type of fraudulent activity is significant, and there are many potential victims, and there are many past and current victims,” Sean Ragan, the agent in charge of the FBI’s San Francisco office, told the network.
The company acknowledged the problem is growing.
“Over the last few months, we’ve seen a rise in fraudulent activity happening across the Internet, including here on LinkedIn,” Oscar Rodriguez, the company’s security chief, said in a blog post published Thursday before the CNBC report went live.
“Our teams use technology like artificial intelligence paired with teams of experts to stop the vast majority of content that violates these policies before it ever goes live — 96% of detected fake accounts and 99.1% of spam and scams are caught and removed by our automated defenses,” he wrote. “We also collaborate with peer companies, policymakers, law enforcement, and government agencies, in efforts to keep you safe.”
LinkedIn, which is owned by Microsoft, warned users not to send money to people they don’t know. Typically, the scams operate much as many dating scams do — scammers gain the confidence of users, sometimes over a period of months, and then ask them for a small investment, followed by larger investments which are eventually stolen. CNBC mentioned a Florida benefits manager who said she lost her life savings of $288,000, and other victims who said they lost $200,000 to $1.6 million.