Millennials are coining their own language when discussing cryptocurrencies. Among terms often seen on investing chat boards are “mooning” (when a cryptocurrency is surging) and “lambo” (when a cryptocurrency gains so much it’s time to buy a Lamborghini). And then there’s “FOMO” (fear of missing out).
Much of the mania for cryptocurrencies — and some of the volatility — can be attributed to young investors bidding up bitcoin, ether, dogecoin and other digital tokens. They see others making money and are afraid they are missing out. But don’t let FOMO turn into “oh no.”
Criminals are targeting young investors, using fear of missing out to hook them into scams. Since October, the Federal Trade Commission has received claims from about 7,000 people reporting more than $80 million in losses to cryptocurrency scams. Cristina Miranda of the FTC’s division of consumer and business education said, “People ages 20-49 were more than five times more likely than other age groups to report losing money on those scams.” Miranda said that young adults in their 20s and 30s “have lost more money on investment scams than on any other type of fraud.” More than half of these losses were in cryptocurrency scams.
Some of these losses are the result of Twitter tweets from scammers purporting to be Elon Musk, a vocal bitcoin supporter. The tweets typically say something like send a bitcoin to a certain web address in the next 30 minutes, and Musk, as part of a “celebration,” will send you two bitcoins in return. Several investors, many of them millennials, sent the scammers a bitcoin, which at the time was worth about $50,000. The FTC says Musk impersonators have stolen more than $2 million.
The bottom line: Don’t let fear of missing out make you a victim of cryptocurrency scams. There’s another term young investors use when that happens: “Rekt.”