Cryptocurrency-related scams are on the rise, with a median loss of $3,000 reported to BBB Scam Tracker this year. Scammers often take advantage of new trends—luring victims who may not be familiar with how these new products or services work in the marketplace and false promises of huge financial returns. But as marketplace educators, we are best positioned to ensure consumers can protect themselves and their loved ones. Research published this fall in partnership with Stanford University shows that knowing about scams and scammer tactics can reduce the likelihood of victimization. That’s why BBB Institute and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation have partnered to create fraud-prevention workshops facilitated by BBBs across North America.

For those unfamiliar with cryptocurrencies, they are virtual currencies powered by computer code. They are not like dollars, pounds, or euros, because they are not backed by a government agency and do not have a physical form. There are many kinds of cryptocurrencies, including the widely known Bitcoin. Because cryptocurrencies are computing code as opposed to a physical object, the transactions and exchanges are completed on a recordkeeping technology known as blockchain. There is a lot of hype around blockchain and how it can be used in a variety of financial sectors. Unfortunately, anytime there is hype in the marketplace, scammers are often not far behind.

The workshops offer a 101 introduction for consumers and business owners to empower them with knowledge that can guard them from fraudsters. Topics include the basic terminology, uses and mechanics of these digital assets—including the risks, opportunities, and common scams associated. Training has been provided to 51 BBBs in the United States and Canada, with more train-the-trainer opportunities in the future.

To learn more about cryptocurrencies, visit:

To learn more about the Fighting Financial Fraud program, visit:

To contact a local Better Business Bureau about finding a workshop in your community, visit: