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MARKETANALYST.US / ECONOMY & WORK

Marin Residents Lost $33 Million to Online Investment Scams Last Year: FBI

FBI’s report highlights the threat of large-scale fraudulent schemes that have ravaged the country since the emergence of crypto and online investment tools.
PUBLISHED APR 16, 2024
Cover Image Source: Marin residents lost $33 million to online investment scam (representative image) | Pexels | Photo by Alesia  Kozik
Cover Image Source: Marin residents lost $33 million to online investment scam (representative image) | Pexels | Photo by Alesia Kozik

About 31 residents of Marin County collectively lost $33 million to online investment scams last year, according to the FBI’s annual Internet Crime Report. Over 156 San Francisco residents suffered losses of over $28 million last year. FBI’s report highlights the threat of large-scale fraudulent schemes that have ravaged the country since the emergence of crypto and online investment tools.



FBI’s San Francisco territory includes much of the Bay Area, the North Coast, Santa Cruz County, Monterey County, and San Benito County. Victims from this territory reportedly lost nearly $400 million to online investment scams last year. Further, the agency said that 446 victims of the Santa Clara County lost nearly $152 million. From Alameda County, 312 victims lost nearly $57.5 million, 221 victims from Contra Costa lost nearly $56.5 million, 108 victims from San Mateo lost nearly $51.7 and 42 victims from Sonoma County lost nearly $3.2 million.

Across the nation, victims reported losses worth about $4.5 billion online investment marking an increase of 38% from the prior year. Robert Tripp, the special agent in charge at the FBI’s San Francisco office, told the Marin Independent Journal that the scammers typically prey on investors’ ignorance.

The FBI also reported that Americans collectively lost about $3.94 billion to cryptocurrency investment frauds last year. As per the FBI’s report, the losses marked an increase of 53% compared to $2.57 billion in 2022.



However, the most frequently reported crime from Marin last year was phishing schemes. These schemes use unsolicited email, text messages, and telephone calls pretending to be from a legitimate company to request personal/sensitive information, financial credentials, or login credentials to accounts/wallets. The FBI said that the Marin residents lost about $53,332 to phishing scams last year.

People who have come across attempts of such scams or have been the victims of online financial schemes should contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, Tripp said. The agency monitors the website around the clock and posts information on the ongoing scams to alert the public.

Representative Image | Unsplash | Photo by FlyD
Cybersecurity is important (representative image) | Representative Image | Unsplash | Photo by FlyD

Beware of unsolicited communication

Investors should be aware of calls where people claiming to be representatives of companies or government agencies ask for personal/sensitive information such as birthdays, Social Insurance Numbers (SIN), Social Security Numbers, credit card or banking information, and such. Furthermore, investors should verify any calls that claim to be from their credit card company by calling the official phone number provided on their bank’s portals. Investors should also verify a website’s URL and look at the domain name and extension to spot any irregularities that appear in a phishing scam.

Complete due diligence

Before investing, investors are recommended to research thoroughly and verify the legitimacy of the investment scheme, the individuals and firms involved, and the financial product or the cryptocurrency’s record.

Avoid schemes that promise outrageous returns

The best policy for investors would be to avoid any opportunity that sounds too good to be true. Investors should check the details of the scheme with independent sources such as registered financial advisers, lawyers, or accountants, CIRO advises.

Keep tabs on accounts

Regardless of any suspicious activity, investors should regularly review their bank statements to spot unauthorized activity and report fraudulent transactions early on.

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