You should know that those who are offering crypto asset investments or services may not be in compliance with applicable law, including federal securities laws. These investments also can be speculative, risky, and volatile. If you are considering an investment opportunity involving crypto assets, you may be wondering if it is legal, if it is right for you, or even whether it might be a scam. We urge you to be cautious in considering whether crypto asset investments are appropriate for you.
Here are some resources to help you better understand these complex topics:
Read our Director’s Take article to learn about investing in crypto assets.
Be cautious with celebrity endorsements of investment products. Watch this video to learn more.
Learn about actions involving crypto assets that the SEC’s Division of Enforcement has brought.
Many so-called “pig butchering” scams involve crypto assets.
“Pig butchering” scams are where a fraudster gradually builds trust with victims (similar to how pigs are fattened up before slaughter), convinces victims to “invest” their money, and then steals the victims’ money.
Fraudsters may initiate contact with potential victims on social media platforms -- including professional networking, dating, and messaging websites/apps -- or through unsolicited text messages. The fraudster may pretend to be an old friend or claim to have contacted the victim accidentally. The fraudster then initiates a friendship or romantic relationship with the victim to gain their trust, and convinces them to invest their money before disappearing with the funds.
Learn more about pig butchering scams and how to avoid them:
- Social Media and Investment Fraud – Investor Alert
- FBI Public Service Announcement – Cryptocurrency Investment Schemes
- FINRA Investor Insights – ‘Pig Butchering' Scams: What They Are and How to Avoid Them
- United States Secret Service Cybercrimes Investigations – Cryptocurrency Investment Scams
- The SEC Has an Opportunity You Won’t Want to Miss: Act Now! (May 2018)
- Statement on Potentially Unlawful Online Platforms for Trading Digital Assets (Mar. 2018)
- SEC Statement Urging Caution Around Celebrity Backed ICOs (Nov. 2017)
- Celebrity Endorsements (Nov. 2017)
- Public Companies Making ICO-Related Claims (Aug. 2017) (also available in Spanish, Las empresas públicas que hacen declaraciones relacionadas a las ICO.)
- Initial Coin Offerings (July 2017) (also available in Spanish, Oferta inicial de criptomonedas.)
- Bitcoin and Other Virtual Currency-Related Investments (May 2014)
- Ponzi Schemes Using Virtual Currencies (July 2013)
- Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology
- Call us at 1-800-732-0330
- Report a possible securities fraud
- Use our online forms to ask a question or report a problem concerning your investments
- Email us at Help@sec.gov
- Write us at:
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Office of Investor Education and Advocacy
100 F Street, NE
Washington, DC 20549-0213