SEC Official Calls Crypto Scams the ‘Flavor of the Year’

Scams involving celebrity endorsements of digital assets are becoming more common.

AccessTimeIconAug 25, 2021 at 6:51 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:45 p.m. UTC

A U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) official called crypto scams the “flavor of the year” at a virtual event on consumer fraud Wednesday, according to a report from MarketWatch.

  • Peter Diskin, an assistant regional director at the SEC’s Atlanta office, said that fraudsters leverage popular sectors such as crypto to get the attention of victims.
  • Diskin pointed out that international criminals have a leg up with crypto scams, because the online and global nature of digital assets can make scams harder to spot and stop.
  • “Not infrequently the money can be removed from U.S. bank accounts and go overseas, which makes it even more difficult to recoup things if something goes wrong,” Diskin said.
  • Diskin also discussed the prevalence of celebrity endorsements in the crypto world, many of which have been tied to scams, such as actor Steven Segal’s promotion of a fraudulent initial coin offering.
  • Reports of crypto scams have soared recently, with nearly 7,000 people reporting total losses of more than $80 million to the Federal Trade Commission between last October and May, according to a report cited by MarketWatch. The reported median loss was $1,900. 


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.