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Don’t Get Burned by Virtual Currencies

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Virtual Currencies like Bitcoin are Hot. Don’t Get Burned!

 

Lately, it seems that you can’t go one day without hearing about the tremendous gains (and losses) of Bitcoin and other popular “virtual currencies.” While high returns make them intriguing as an investment, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) wants you to be aware of the possible risks associated with investing or speculating in virtual currencies. Here’s information straight from the CFTC:

What You Should Know:

  • Virtual currency is a type of unregulated digital money that is used and accepted by members of a virtual community.
  • Virtual currency does not have status as legal tender.
  • While virtual currencies have potential benefits, the cash market is largely unregulated, so beware. Virtual currencies:
    • Are commonly targeted by hackers and fraudsters
    • Offer no recourse if stolen
    • Involve e-wallets or storage that present cybersecurity risks
    • Carry speculative risk plus fraud and manipulation risks

What You Should Do:

  • Visit the CFTC’s virtual currency resource page, cftc.gov/bitcoin to learn more about how to protect yourself.
  • If someone tries to sell you an investment in virtual currency options or futures, including Bitcoin, verify they are registered with the CFTC at SmartCheck.gov.
  • If you think you’ve been victimized by a virtual currency fraud, call the CFTC toll-free at 866-FON-CFTC (866-366-2382) or submit a tip online.
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