COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Big returns… Endorsements by celebrities… The popularity of cryptocurrency is growing by the day. But scams involving the digital currency are also rising dramatically, according to a new investigative study by the Better Business Bureau. 

“The top three riskiest scams in 2021 were online purchases, cryptocurrency, and employment scams,” said LeeAnne Lanigan, Director of Investigations for the BBB Serving Central Ohio. 

According to the study, cryptocurrency jumped from the seventh spot on that list in 2020, to number two in 2021. 

“It wasn’t that it was a widely reported scam that was so alarming,” Lanigan said. “It was the susceptibility of the people losing money to the scam, and the big jump in the dollar amount was alarming to us as well.” 

Nearly $8 million dollars across the U.S. and that’s just in losses reported to the BBB. 

Reasons for that, Lanigan said: Cryptocurrency doesn’t exist in physical form, it can be used by anyone, anywhere, and it doesn’t rely on banks to verify transactions. 

“It is a brand-new area for scammers to take advantage of,” said Lanigan. 

Data from the BBB shows that cryptocurrency scams most commonly begin on social media. Scammers may impersonate the victim’s friends to tell them about their success in investing. But the bureau says you should be wary of “friends” who reach out to you, telling you how they made money.

Don’t believe the promise of guaranteed returns because no one knows for certain how an investment will perform.

And never make a payment with cryptocurrency. These transactions are not reversible, so, unlike a normal transaction with your credit or debit card, there is no protection. 

Click here to see the BBB’s full study.