The ‘Better Business Bureau’ (BBB) is a non-profit organisation focused towards creating an “ethical” marketplace in North America, has published a report this month called ‘New Risks and Emerging Technologies 2019: BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report’.
As the title would suggest, this report was compiled using user data submitted via the ‘BBB Scam Tracker’, a service which enables anybody who visits the website to submit reports to the BBB concerning suspected cases of “scamming” operations.
The scams can be divided between those in which investment into the cryptocurrency token is the scam itself, and those where cryptocurrency was the method of payment used to ensure that victims’ funds are more difficult to trace (and eventually laundered).
Based from the numbers provided: it would appear that cryptocurrency has become a very popular, yet relatively new, method for laundering illicitly obtained funds. Despite this, the top payment method used to pay scammers across 2016-2019 is still credit cards.
According to the report: 2019 saw a 5.3% increase in the median dollar loss per scam overall, in addition to an increase in ‘susceptibility’ from respondents to scams: from 29.5% in 2018, to 35.1% in 2019.
Cryptocurrency and was first introduced by BBB in the 2019 edition of its reports among its catalogue of ‘scams’. In fact: it was ranked as the second most pressing concern identified by the organisation out of all types of ‘scam’ included in the report, since mid-2018.
“In 2019 [cryptocurrency] scams jumped from [being] a small subsection of investment scams to the second riskiest scam for consumers overall… [and tied with] romance scams” for top spot when it comes to the greatest median volume of dollars lost, per-case.
As such: it appears that cryptocurrency (and by extension blockchain as well) is not painted in a positive light by any definition within this document. According to the BBB report, out of all the cryptocurrency scams to be completed throughout 2019:
- 32%: involved the purchase of cryptocurrencies as a form of payment for goods, services or cash.
- 23.4%: involved the purchase of digital assets as an investment opportunity.
- 31%: of all crypto scams “with a financial loss” in the year “involved a company called C2CX, which is based in China (outside of BBB’s North American Purview)”.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) was founded over a century ago – back in 1912. It is currently comprised of 106 “independently incorporated local BBB organizations in the United States and Canada”, coordinated by the International Association of Better Business Bureaus (IABBB) in Arlington, Virginia.
Its other services include BBB Auto Line: a programme which operates within the United States targeting resolution between customers and consumers pertaining to automotive issues.
BBB also runs a service called Military Line which serves to offer “financial literacy training and tips, fraud alerts,and scam preventioon programming through our partners and network of BBB facilitators across North America” to active military members, veterans, and military spouses.