74-Year-Old Turned To Crypto After Pandemic Disrupted His Business — And Ended Up Losing $340K To A Scam

In a rising trend of cryptocurrency scams, senior citizens are increasingly falling victim, losing their life savings to fraudulent schemes. One such case is that of Naum Lantsman, a 74-year-old businessman who lost over $340,000 to a crypto scam operated by a company called SpireBit, NPR reports.

Trust Betrayed

Lantsman, who turned to cryptocurrency investments after the pandemic disrupted his business, was lured into investing his life savings into SpireBit. A company representative named Pavel, who communicated in Lantsman’s native Russian, built a rapport with him, encouraging him to invest more over time. The SpireBit platform showed a false display of growing profits, leading Lantsman to believe his investments were flourishing.

Unveiling the Scam

The scam was revealed when Lantsman attempted to withdraw money from his account. SpireBit sent a document, purportedly from Barclays, stating that Lantsman needed to send 2% of the withdrawal amount as a “security measure.” Barclays confirmed that the document was forged. By the time Lantsman’s family discovered the scam, it was too late, and the money was gone.

SpireBit’s Deception

Further investigations revealed that much about SpireBit was a sham. The company claimed partnerships with established crypto industry companies, all of which denied any association with SpireBit. The company’s supposed founder and CEO were found to be using stock photos for their LinkedIn profiles. SpireBit also falsely claimed its corporate parent company was SBT Investments Limited, a claim refuted by UK regulators.

Increasing Crypto Scams

Cryptocurrency scams have surged since the pandemic, with a 900% increase in total money lost to such scams since 2020. The Federal Trade Commission reported 50,000 instances of crypto scams last year, with social media platforms being the primary lure. The lack of government regulation and oversight in the crypto industry makes it an ideal vehicle for scammers, and transactions are often irreversible and difficult to trace.

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