By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The growing popularity of cryptocurrency has also led to a rising number of scams.

Cindy Tsai said she lost millions to someone she thought was a friend. He said his name was Jimmy. Handsome, young and in the U.S. alone.

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Last October, Tsai said Jimmy accidently messaged her on WhatsApp. She recalls he said, “Are you Linda from the pet store?’ And I messaged back and said ‘wrong number.'”

That seemingly innocent exchange quickly escalated into Tsai sharing personal information, including her cancer diagnosis.

“Very much a comfort for me at that time, in my mind it was a relationship,” Tsai said.

Within weeks, Jimmy showed Tsai how much money he was making trading in cryptocurrency and offered to help her invest on the platform he was using.

“He said, ‘You’re not giving me a dime, this is completely controlled by you,'” Tsai said.

Jimmy gave her a link, and Tsai set up the account.

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Matthew Giacobbi with the FBI says, when people click on hyperlinks, “it will take them to a site that is either spoofed or very close to the legitimate site.”

Tsai said she invested $2.5 million and lost it all.

The FBI estimates, in 2021, 24,000 people fell victim to these types of scams, losing about a billion dollars.

“With cryptocurrency it’s different, if you give somebody your digital wallet, that is gone instantly. There is no clearing process, so it’s very difficult for law enforcement to track that,” Giacobbi said.

Tsai became suspicious after having a hard time withdrawing money. But by then it was too late.

“It’s interesting the disconnect between your logical self and your emotional self. And I think I was probably the most vulnerable in my entire life. I desperately wanted to believe him,” Tsai said.

Tsai said that clouded her judgement. She’s now sharing her story to help prevent others from becoming a victim of this scam.

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Authorities say don’t invest with people you only met online, do your research, don’t click on hyperlinks for trading platforms and never share banking information. Team