MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Millions of investors have branched out into cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, and scammers are trying to capitalize on all the buzz.

Brandon Larsen recently downloaded an app that he said was linked to the website he uses for trading. But the app was a fake, and all the money in it was gone. Larsen lost $ 384,006.

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“I shed a lot of tears, I’m not going to lie,” he said.

Christopher Leach of the Federal Trade Commission said these types of scams have exploded and Americans lost more than $ 80 million in cryptocurrency scams between October 2020 and March 2021, a 1,000% increase from to the previous year.

There are several different scams, including one where crooks place bogus ads online promising to triple your investment.

“But that requires you to give them your cryptocurrency. A lot of times what happens is – poof – the cryptocurrency is gone when you try to pull it out of the investment fund, ”Leach said.

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Scammers also send emails posing as celebrities, including well-known crypto-investor Elon Musk.

“And saying, if you give me cryptocurrency, you can enter a draw to win a lot more cryptocurrency,” Leach said.

Larsen said you have to be careful who you trust, but he’s always going to trade.

“There is still a huge opportunity to make money in crypto, and I will always take advantage of it,” he said.

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Larsen reported his massive loss to authorities, but since crypto-crimes are often nowhere to be found, he doesn’t expect to see that money again.

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