Published:Feb 27, 2024


Americans lost $1.56B in crypto to fraud in 2023

Cybercriminals have been increasingly targeting cryptocurrency, and losses have been especially dire since 2022. Surfshark’s chart of the week looks at data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and reveals how much crypto has been lost to fraud and what types of scams people should watch out for. The data includes cases in which the payment method was crypto, but the scams themselves were not necessarily crypto-related.

Key insights

  • In 2023, cryptocurrency fraud accounted for over $1.555 billion in losses in the United States, constituting 15% of all fraud-related losses and affecting over 55,000 people. This positions cryptocurrency as the second-highest payment type in terms of monetary losses following bank transfers.
  • 2023 marks the second consecutive year of cryptocurrency losses exceeding $1 billion, with $1.558 billion reported in 2022—a twofold increase from 2021. The loss per victim has also surged over the past two years, reaching $26k in 2022 and further rising to $28k in 2023, in stark contrast to $18k in 2021.
  • Over half of all fraud losses in cryptocurrency in 2023 stemmed from miscellaneous investments and investment advice fraud, amounting to $829 million in total losses or $34k loss per victim. This was followed by romance scams and business imposter scams, resulting in losses of $179 million and $140 million, respectively.
  • The overall increase in losses has plateaued in 2023, showing minimal deviation from the figures in 2022. Even if this trend of stalled growth continues into 2024, the scope of losses in cryptocurrency positions it as a significant threat for the year, warranting caution for all current and future crypto holders.

Methodology and sources

The data for this study was collected from the Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book by the Federal Trade Commission (2019-2023). Data on the number of reports and amount lost in cryptocurrency was aggregated per year and analyzed in terms of change over the years and average losses per victim and per fraud category.

For the complete research material behind this study, visit here.

Data was collected from:

Federal Trade Commission (2023) Fraud Payment Methods 2019-2023.
The team behind this research:About us