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North Carolina Residents Are Losing Life Savings To Crypto Scams, FBI Issues Warning

One resident lost $790,000 in life savings to an investment scam he discovered on LinkedIn
The symbol of the bitcoin is seen in front of a Bitcoin ATM machine | Getty Images | Photo by Cesc Maymo
The symbol of the bitcoin is seen in front of a Bitcoin ATM machine | Getty Images | Photo by Cesc Maymo

Several North Carolina residents have recently lost their life savings in crypto investment scams. In the last month, ABC11’s Troubleshooter Diane Wilson heard from three victims who lost substantial amounts to scammers. In one case, Jim Wilkerson of Cary lost over $790,0000 in a bogus crypto investment scheme. The FBI has warned citizens about the rising crypto scams that are stealing millions of dollars from North Carolina residents alone.

Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by NFT gallery
Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by NFT gallery

Wilkerson was approached on LinkedIn about an investment opportunity which he fell for as it promised returns of 21% to 24%. He was instructed to transfer money to a legitimate crypto trading platform and invest in the online trading company Sundell-fx.

Initially, he was able to pull out his earnings, thus, Wilkerson put more money into the account, and at one point he invested money taken from his savings, stock sales, and 401K plan. His portfolio soon grew to $4 million but when he tried to withdraw money, the message said, “Oh, well, your account has been flagged: possible money laundering,” Wilkerson told ABC11.


He even got messages from Sundell representatives who instructed him to pay 10% of his balance to a certain address for verification purposes after which his balance will be released. However, when Wilkerson did not send the money, all of his funds disappeared, and his balance turned to zero.

The FBI in Raleigh has warned consumers about a growing crypto investment scams. Federal agents told the ABC11 Troubleshooter that crypto investment fraud rose from $2.57 billion in 2022 to $3.944 billion in 2023, showing a shocking increase of 53%.


The FBI says that these scams are designed to lure victims with the promise of lucrative returns. Victims are often targeted based on what they post or comment on social media or job networking sites.

James Kaylor, special agent of the FBI, Raleigh, told ABC11 that scammers take a close look at the people, with whom they are connected and gather information about their interests to start a conversation to build trust.

Kaylor added that these scammers are part of organized crime rackets which are mostly international with call centres across the world. These people are sending out leads all day to target victims and they even create fake websites and apps.

While the victims are under the impression that the money they invested is making huge gains, it’s the work of scammers who are just showing the victims what they want to see so that they invest even more money, Kaylor told ABC11.

Kaylor further said that while the FBI does try and track down the scammers it's tough to ever recover victims' money as crypto is mostly traded through unregulated currency exchanges. “It's not FIAT money that's backed by a government that we have a little more leeway where a lot of places are going to take the banking industry in,” Kaylor said in the report.


Thus, the FBI agent urged people to thoroughly vet a scheme before investing their savings and not fall for any too-good-to-be-true returns. Furthermore, the victim of such scams is advised to report the incident immediately through the Internet crime portal to increase chances of recovery.