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As we’ve seen, love and cryptocurrency can be a volatile combination, especially when the first part of the equation disappears. So, too, can fake love and fake money.

Last year also saw scammers increasingly using romance as a hook to lure people into bogus investments, particularly those involving cryptocurrency, she said. After romancing a potential target, the scammers often make a victim believe they are successful investors and casually offer investment advice for fake opportunities that often involve foreign-exchange trading or cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency was the top method by dollar amount that victims used to make such payments in 2021, at about $139 million. That is nearly five times the cryptocurrency amount reported in 2020 and more than 25 times that in 2019, the FTC said. In comparison, about $121 million was lost through bank transfers or payments and another $93 million through wire transfers in 2021, FTC data shows.

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that neither love nor blockchain tear you apart. Perhaps even that love based on a lie can blossom into true affection and romance. Then what? Well, then other scammers will probably sunder you from your cyber goods.

When Apgar picked up the phone, a female voice said, “Hello, welcome to Coinbase security prevention line. We have detected unauthorized activity due to failed log-in attempt on your account. This was requested from a Canada IP address. If this (is) not you, please press 1, to complete precautions recovering your account.” The call lasted just 19 seconds…. “Once the victim inputs that 2FA code, or any other information that they requested the victim put in their phone, that information gets sent to the bot,” [Q6 Cyber analyst Jessica] Kelley said. The bot “then automatically sends it to the cybercriminal, who then has access to the victim’s account.”

Assuming, you know, that the system doesn’t crash.

The app for Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange, briefly crashed Sunday after a bizarre Super Bowl ad sparked a surge in traffic…. Coinbase had more than 20 million hits on its landing page in one minute and the engagement that was six times higher than previous benchmarks, Surojit Chatterjee, chief product officer at Coinbase, wrote on Twitter. He said that was "historic and unprecedented."

Now, let’s say your loving relationship includes scamming other loving couples out of their crypto. Well, you might find it sundered by the courts.

The New York couple charged with conspiracy to launder over $4 billion in stolen bitcoin will be separated before trial — D.C. Chief District Judge Beryl Howell ruled Monday that the husband would be detained and his wife would be freed…

Of course, even here, there may have been a bit of financial infidelity.

Howell may have been convinced that Morgan willingly participated, she also noted the evidence suggested that Morgan may not have known about the stolen bitcoin until after the funds were transferred from her husband's digital wallet.

Just like the BlockFi users earning all that interest on crypto lending didn’t know that, as far as the SEC is concerned, it was against the law.

A cryptocurrency company that allowed nearly 600,000 users to earn interest by lending their holdings to other traders will pay $100 million to settle claims that its product violated investor-protection laws.

BlockFi Lending LLC, which held as much as $14.7 billion in assets at its peak last year, will pay the highest fine ever agreed to by a cryptocurrency company….

Speaking of laws….

A discussion draft released Monday by [New Jersey Democratic Rep. Josh] Gottheimer’s office proposes to designate certain digital currencies as “qualified” stablecoins if they can be redeemed on a one-for-one basis for U.S. dollars…. Gottheimer’s legislation, which is still soliciting input from Capitol Hill and the crypto industry, will likely be the first of many attempts to structure the new market from Congress and the Biden administration.

Pandemic, Crypto Fuel Increase in Romance Scams [WSJ]
Fraudsters are using bots to drain cryptocurrency accounts [CNBC]
Coinbase's strange QR-code Super Bowl ad briefly crashes app [CNN]
Couple accused in $4.5-billion bitcoin scheme to be separated before trial [CBS News]
BlockFi to Pay Record Penalty to Settle SEC Probe of Crypto Lending Business [WSJ]
Democratic lawmaker unveils bill that would define boundaries for stablecoin market [CNBC]

For more of the latest in litigation, regulation, deals and financial services trends, sign up for Finance Docket, a partnership between Breaking Media publications Above the Law and Dealbreaker.

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