Cryptocurrency investment is among the top five investor threats for 2020, according to the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA).

The NASAA, the oldest international investor protection organization, has officially announced the top five products or schemes likely to defraud investors in the coming year. In order to provide the report, the authority surveyed state and provincial securities regulators across the United States, Canada and Mexico.

NASAA warns against crypto and Ponzi schemes

Released on Dec. 23, the report includes the top five schemes that are likely to trap investors in 2020, based on investor complaints, ongoing investigations as well as current enforcement trends.

Alongside crypto-related investments, the top areas of concern for 2020 also include promissory notes, real estate investments, Ponzi schemes as well as online and social media investment schemes, the NASAA warned.

“No one can guarantee an investment return,” NASAA president says

Christopher Gerold, NASAA president and chief of the New Jersey Bureau of Securities, said that there is no type of investment that can guarantee an investment return. “Anyone who says their investment offer has no risk is lying,” Gerold said, urging investors to be more careful and not fall for promises of guaranteed high returns.

“It is important for investors to understand what they are investing in and who they are investing with. Don’t fall for promises of guaranteed high returns with little to no risk or deals pitched with a false sense of urgency or limited availability.”

In line with its fundamental mission of protecting consumers who purchase securities or investment advice, the NASAA has been actively monitoring the activity on cryptocurrency markets. By mid-2018, the authority launched over 200 investigations on crypto-related investment products and initial coin offerings (ICOs) within its ongoing initiative “Operation Cryptosweep.” Previously, the NASAA issued an official warning for Main Street investors against the risks associated with cryptocurrencies and ICOs.

Meanwhile, the scale of losses caused by crypto-related scams and thefts have seen a massive spike in recent years, surging from an estimated $1.7 billion in 2018 to as much as $4.4 billion in 2019, as reported by Cointelegraph.