(WHTM) — Over the last 15 months, U.S. consumers have lost more than $1 billion to cryptocurrency fraud. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum exist as digital code and can be used to make purchases. However, currencies like these have gained popularity as an investment.

Cryptocurrencies are frequently traded on online exchanges, but they are not backed or regulated by any government body which makes them susceptible to rapid changes in value.

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AARP says nearly half of the people who lost money through a crypto con say it started with an Instagram/Facebook advertisement, post, or message.

Red flags for cryptocurrency fraud include “guaranteed” returns or promises of huge gains, and legitimate businesses and governments do not require you to send cryptocurrencies to resolve problems.

Another piece of advice, don’t mix love and cryptocurrency. Be wary if a new romantic partner starts pushing you to invest in crypto or asks for money in that form.

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