BBB warns consumers about local cryptocurrency business


DAYTON — The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has been alerted of a digital currency company called Giving Bulls, which may be located in Englewood, as customers have claimed the company took their money with nothing in return.

Giving Bulls claimed to be selling non-fungible tokens (NFTs). An NFT is a unit of data, stored on a type of digital ledger called a blockchain, which can be sold and traded. The NFT can be associated with a particular digital or physical asset including, but not limited to, art, songs and sports highlights and a license to use the asset for a specified purpose. An NFT — and, if applicable, the associated license to use, copy or display the underlying asset — can be traded and sold on digital markets.

The company was selling NFTs through its website, givingbulls.com, using the virtual currency of Ethereum. Consumers contacting the BBB purchased between $250 to $2,126 in NFTs only to find the company closed the business and did not fulfill its obligations. The owner promised refunds, but consumers have never received them.

The BBB’s investigation has found that the owner of the company has erased business associated digital footprints on Twitter, Discord, Instagram, and other social media networks. The website is also no longer active, and the phone number provided by complainants is no longer in service.

BBB staff found there was no registration with the Ohio Secretary of State under the name of Giving Bulls or its agent/registrant. BBB team members have tried to reach out to the company by mail and phone with no success.

As a result of the BBB’s investigation and unanswered complaints, Giving Bulls has an F rating on its BBB Business Profile. BBB rates companies from A+ to an F, similar to the education system.

Cryptocurrency can be an interesting way to invest your money. As with any investment, there are risks, and consumers should do their homework. BBB offers the following tips to avoid cryptocurrency scams:

• Guard your wallet. If you buy cryptocurrency, the security of the wallet is of prime importance. If you lose the key, then your funds are gone permanently.

• Look carefully at email addresses and website addresses. Phishing scams often try to trick people into logging in and then capture the login credentials. Those then can be used to steal money. Looking for an exchange with an internet search engine may lead to fake sites which advertise and impersonate real companies. Be especially careful when viewing these on a phone.

• Don’t pay for products with cryptocurrency. Be careful if someone asks you to pay with Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency.

• Watch out for fake reviews. Scammers often create fake reviews for their own companies.

• Be wary of celebrity endorsements. It can be tempting to rely on a prominent figure who has invested in cryptocurrency. But those endorsements are often not authorized and even if they are, the celebrity may be paid for the effort and may not know more about it than you do.

• Be careful about claims made on social media. This is the most common place for people to encounter investment scams.

• Be wary of “friends” who reach out to you on social media and tell you how they made money with cryptocurrency. Accounts are frequently compromised. Call your friend by phone to see if it is really them.

• Only download apps from Google Play or the App Store. Trusted app stores don’t eliminate the threat of app scams, but they do offer a basic level of protection.

• Don’t believe promises of guaranteed returns. No one can guarantee how an investment will perform.

“It’s important to do your homework before doing business with a company for the first time. Check them out with your BBB before handing over your hard-earned money. We are a simple click or phone call away. Visit BBB.org or call 937-222-5825 or 800- 776-5301. You can also get more cryptocurrency tips at https://www.bbb.org/all/cryptocurrency-tips ,” said John North, the president and CEO of BBB serving Dayton and the Miami Valley.