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Cryptocurrency and Digital Assets

About Our Department

As the state financial regulator, our Department oversees a host of financial products and services. The Department continuously monitors developments in cryptocurrency business models and carefully reviews consumer complaints about cryptocurrency.

Legal Disclaimer

The content on this page provides general consumer information. It is not legal advice or regulatory guidance and does not modify any existing law or regulation. This information may include links or references to third-party resources or content. We do not endorse the third-party or guarantee the accuracy of this third-party information. There may be other resources that serve your needs.

Having a problem with a financial product or service? Please submit a complaint. DFPI staff can help you connect with companies if you have a complaint.

The DFPI receives consumer complaints and investigates those suspected of being scams or outright fraud. Like any fast-growth industry, an increase in financial scams have followed. Check the link below for consumer alerts.

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We’re Here to Help

“I was locked out of my account and couldn’t access my account. All my funds were withdrawn and I lost everything.”

“I received a message on social media from a stranger. They told me about an investment opportunity and wanted me to sign up on a website. I transferred money via a service I haven’t used before and the stranger is not responding.”

“I received a phone notification that my coins were sold. I did not initiate this and contacted customer service on the mobile trading app, but they never responded. I’ve lost thousands of dollars.”

We understand how devastating financial loss can be for California consumers. That’s why the DFPI is working hard to monitor and respond to complaints while also providing resources to assist you in navigating the risks that come with new financial technologies like cryptocurrency.

As cryptocurrencies have become more popular, industry complaints have followed. The quotes above are similar to actual submissions from California residents who have filed a complaint with us. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, file a complaint with us today.

Complaints provide valuable insights into problems consumers are experiencing in the marketplace. These complaints help us detect patterns of fraud and abuse that may lead to investigations of business practices.

What We Do

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Monitor complaints

When should I contact the DFPI?

Whether your financial loss is $5 or $50,000, you can contact us about your experience with a financial product or service, including cryptocurrency exchanges, wallets, or ATMs. If you sense something is wrong and you’ve had issues connecting with a service provider, please let us know.

What do I need to provide?

Gather your information before you file your complaint, including your account information, the company or individuals you corresponded with, any contracts and related paperwork and your attempts to resolve any issues.

We never ask for a person’s immigration status or private information like a social security number. If it’s easier, you can also have someone file the complaint on your behalf with express written authorization.

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Review complaints

How will my complaint be handled?

If we think an issue can be resolved by reaching out to a financial service provider, we’ll work to get a resolution on your behalf. If the complaint involves activity that we think may be illegal, we’ll send your complaint to our enforcement division who will review and take appropriate next steps, which may involve reaching out to other state and federal agencies or regulatory organizations. While we work to carefully review every complaint, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to resolve your issue.

Stay Safe

Understanding the risks associated cryptocurrencies puts you in the position to make informed choices about where you put your money.

As the Federal Trade Commission notes, “An investment that may be worth thousands of dollars on Tuesday could only be worth hundreds on Wednesday.”

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Don’t put in more money than you can afford to lose.

Cryptocurrencies largely lack the consumer protections, such as deposit insurance and error resolution rights, that people may expect, and some have found any help difficult to access. Even if things go right, you can lose everything since these are speculative investments.

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Beware of virtual pyramid

Watch out for scammers or get rich quick schemes. Always look for credible sources of information, such as:

DFPI
SEC
CFPB
Consumer advisories

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Hacking and other cyber risks require vigilance

If something goes wrong, you may have no way to get your money back, so stay vigilant.

  • Store your password in a safe place
  • Consider cold storage
  • Change your password regularly, and always make sure your internet connection is secure

Consumer Alerts – Cryptocurrency

The Department of Financial Protection and Innovation has issued the following consumer alerts for companies that may be engaging in unlicensed activity and/or falsely advertising cryptocurrency products and services. Please exercise extreme caution before engaging with any solicitation offering investment or financial services related to cryptocurrency.

To check whether an investment or financial service provider is licensed in California, consumers may contact the Department for questions or inquiries at ask.dfpi@dfpi.ca.gov or call toll-free at (866) 275-2677.  If a consumer believes a person or company has violated state law or acted improperly regarding a consumer financial product or service, they may file a formal complaint with the DFPI at https://dfpi.ca.gov/file-a-complaint/.

Last updated: Nov 16, 2021 @ 11:43 am