13 Investigates: Houstonians lose millions in crypto investment scams, FBI says


HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Houstonians have lost anywhere from $10,000 to $1 million per person in investment scams, oftentimes involving hard-to-recover cryptocurrency.

The FBI told 13 Investigates’ Kevin Ozebek investment schemes are becoming more sophisticated as overseas scammers use artificial intelligence and chatbots like ChatGPT to “generate communication in English in a way that’s relatable and not broken.”

“We find that even if the bad actors are located overseas, their ability to communicate with people in the United States – they can make it sound as if they’re in America or they can use these different tools to translate and figure out communication in order to really attract and lure in their victims,” Cindy Quintanilla, a forensic accountant with the FBI, said. “It’s getting a lot harder for victims or the common person to be able to decipher. ‘Oh, this isn’t real,’ or ‘this person doesn’t speak good English.'”

Victims reported losing $3.31 billion in investment scams across the U.S. last year, which was up 127% from 2021, when fraud complaints totaled $1.45 billion,…

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