Senator Elizabeth Warren warned of cryptocurrency scams targeting seniors during a U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging on Nov. 16.

There, Warren cited statistics from the FBI indicating that crypto fraud stole $2.5 billion from consumers in 2022. She added that this fraud primarily targets consumers.

She emphasized that such fraud often targets the aging population, noting that last year saw a 350% rise in crypto investment scams targeting seniors. Warren said that this was the largest increase for any age group. She said that this amounted to over $1 billion in losses for seniors and said that the total is “almost surely an underestimate.”

Warren also interviewed an expert witness, Steve Weisman, a lawyer and Senior Lecturer at Bentley University and the main editor for

In response to Warren’s questions, Weisman suggested that seniors are especially vulnerable to cryptocurrency scams because of changes to the brain involved in aging, as well as greed and the “fear of missing out” (FOMO) that is common in crypto.

Weisman suggested that cryptocurrency’s anonymity is “terrific” and aids scammers. He said that although specific attacks have been traced, crypto that is moved through coin mixers is challenging to trace. He added that fraudulent crypto transactions are complex to block, unlike fraud involving traditional methods such as credit cards.

Weisman endorses Warren legislation

Finally, Weisman endorsed Warren’s proposed legislation, calling it “long overdue” and “something that absolutely would help immeasurably.”

The legislation in question is Warren’s Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act, which was reintroduced in July 2023 and has since gained further support.

Among other things. the law would extend know-your-customer (KYC) requirements to additional members of the blockchain industry, would extend reporting requirements to some transactions involving more than $10,000 in digital assets, and would introduce record-keeping requirements around “unhosted” or self-custodial wallets.

Warren is well known for her harsh anti-cryptocurrency stance. She has also highlighted various other issues, such as cryptocurrency’s role in the drug trade, tax evasion, and terrorist financing.