‘These Are My Hard-Earned Savings:’ 17 User Complaints Show the Human Impact of FTX’s Collapse

‘These Are My Hard-Earned Savings:’ 17 User Complaints Show the Human Impact of FTX’s Collapse

When FTX halted withdrawals on November 8, at least one unlucky soul had made their first deposit into the crypto exchange the very same day, praying for a profit. But by the time the money had been deposited, the platform had shut down all trades, leaving this person unable to do anything. It’s just one sad story of many filed with the Federal Trade Commission, obtained by Gizmodo through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Less than a week after the halt in withdrawals, FTX declared bankruptcy, owing at least $US3 ($4) billion to a million creditors. Where did that money go? We should be getting answers soon, as former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was arraigned Jan. 3rd in New York federal court. He pleaded not guilty to a slew of federal charges, including fraud and conspiracy.

Judicial schadenfreude aside, it’s important to keep a perspective on the human toll that lies in the wake of SBF’s alleged fraud. Real people lost their life savings to FTX’s calamitous bankruptcy. To that end, Gizmodo has obtained documents that shed light on the how users were afflicted by FTX’s collapse in November.

While people like CNBC’s Kevin O’Leary have gotten the headlines for saying they lost money during the FTX implosion, we recently learned O’Leary only had money invested that he’d been given as part of his sponsorship deal with FTX. O’Leary can say he “lost” his own money when FTX went under, but that’s really not true as Joe Kernen, another CNBC commentator, recently pointed out. O’Leary was paid $US15 ($21) million to be a paid spokesperson for FTX, and in turn, FTX said he had to buy a bunch of the company’s garbage crypto token with that money.

The complaints filed with the FTC include everything from bad customer service to allegations of outright fraud. Some of the most heartbreaking stories from the complaints involve people who heard about FTX collapsing and tried to get their money out as quickly as possible, to no avail.

But not all of the complaints concern FTX’s bankruptcy. Some predate FTX’s very public problems and document a host of other issues, including a lack of customer support. There are numerous complaints from people who say it was incredibly easy to put money into the platform, but very difficult to get it out. Others are about FTX’s purchase of Blockfolio, a competing crypto company. Users complained that when FTX absorbed the smaller exchange in July of 2021, their crypto simply disappeared.

Gizmodo could not independently verify the claims in the complaints we’ve obtained through FOIA, given the redactions made by the FTC, but we believe persistent patterns in the complaints paint a picture of how the company treated its users even at the best of times. The FTC released 207 complaints, many involving people who thought they were dealing with FTX, but were actually giving their money directly to scammers posing as FTX. The “accidental text” way of finding marks for scams seemed to be particularly common among FTX impersonators. The 17 complaints we’ve published below all appear to be from users who were legitimate customers of FTX.

Minor spelling and punctuation changes have been made for readability, but the substance of each complaint remains.

“They have declared bankruptcy”

November 15, 2022

On November 2nd I transferred 300 to FTX.us via ACH. It was supposed to be able to be withdrawn by November 14th. But now on the 14th, you can no longer login to their website and they have declared bankruptcy.

“While waiting for the ACH deposit to clear, they went under…”

November 14, 2022

A crypto exchange “FTX” was advertised on an F1 car from Mercedes. I deposited money there, while waiting for the ACH deposit to clear, they went under and disabled logins and withdrawals.

“I have funds in the acct and I cannot access it.”

November 14, 2022

As of October 2021 I have send multiple emails to FTX US (cryptocurrency) to let them know that I have changed my email server, and cause of that I had to change my email which is the one in my FTX US account [redacted] my new email is [redacted]. FTX US has responded with email that state I should wait 72hrs cause they are very busy, I have waited and gone thru the process of what the email they send me in what to do, but here is the cliche it takes me back to place another support ticket. I have funds in the acct and I cannot access it. Reason I’m reaching out to your dept for some help. The fair solution is for FTX US to reach out to me and help me fix the issue owing my account, they have my SS number my telephone number my linked bank account and I have send them my new email to contact me, moreover explaining the email account discrepancy, I ask for someone to walk me thru the steps.

“The withdrawal was confirmed as ‘sending.’ I have not gotten my money.”

November 14, 2022

I had cash in my FTX Crypto account and initiated a withdrawal the evening of 11/10/22. The withdrawal was confirmed as “sending”. I have not gotten my money to the single linked bank account I used for my FTX account.

“I wired the remaining funds out of the brokerage and into my bank… I have yet to receive my wire transfer.”

November 13, 2022

I was using FTX US as a cryptocurrency brokerage service. Once news broke about their possible failures, I wired the remaining funds out of the brokerage and into my bank on 11/09/2022. On 11/11/2022 the company filed for bankruptcy. I have yet to receive my wire transfer.

“These are my hard-earned savings”

November 12, 2022

FTX US was supposed to return my $US25,000 ($34,705) (they were stored as USD on FTX US, not sure if FTX US did something else with my savings) via ACH to my bank account. They have not done so and are not responding to customer service messages. Please see the dates on the attached file, which is the communication with their customer support. These are my hard-earned savings and FTX US needs to return my savings.

“I currently am unable to login to withdraw any crypto if it’s even still there. After the fallout of FTX.US being a scam and filing for Chapter 11, I want to document that I have been scammed along with thousands of other people.”

November 12, 2022

I created an FTX.US account on 12/27/2021 after doing research on the FTX exchange. I deposited around $US9,500 ($13,188) of Solana along with importing 30 NFT’s on their website. I currently am unable to login to withdraw any crypto if it’s even still there. After the fallout of FTX.US being a scam and filing for Chapter 11, I want to document that I have been scammed along with thousands of other people. I reached out to the FTX team through twitter and contact us feature with no response received. For the past 3 days I’ve been trying to login to at least withdraw my NFT collection which at this time is over 10,000 aside from the $US9,500 ($13,188) of Solana deposits but I cannot get through. Many people on Twitter and Reddit have reported having their accounts completely wiped out. I want to ensure that if that is the case with my account, at least I have submitted this report so I can include it in the class action lawsuit against FTX.US and SBF.

“The timing was uncanny”

November 8, 2022

Within hours of public news regarding Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX crypto exchange failing due to liquidity issues, I received an email (from Walmart) that my BlockFi credit card was charged for $US415.88 ($577) then shortly cancelled due to being flagged by the credit fraud team.

The timing was uncanny, the email came in right around the mini pump and dump of Bitcoin (I watch the daily candles in line with stock market movements) and considering all the crime within and between crypto and Wall Street I wasn’t sure who to notify but the FTC seemed more appropriate than the SEC (who I believe are lax to the point of being complicit).

IF this was not just a coincidence, it’s possible FTX and/or related entity, BlockFi, timed some internal crime enough to pump up their balance sheets for future restructuring negotiations. And at the very least, my privacy and and credit file were violated!!

I don’t know if the FTC can find the right place and people to send this tip alert to, but at least I tried. I’ve only ever had one other unauthorised credit card purchase in my life. This is not a regularly occurring thing for me. I can smell the stench of crime.

(Purely speculative but there are suspicions that FTX is a front for Ken Griffin’s (and cronies) Citidel, Citidel Securities and their related bad Wall Street bets.)

Thank you for reading.

“My deposit never showed up on my account.”

January 13, 2022

FTX US deals in cryptocurrency investments. This company popped up on a Google search and I opened an account. It gave instructions on how to make a deposit of US dollars so that investment could be initiated. My deposit never showed up on my account. It did show on my bank statement. When I contacted them via a support ticket, They said I had to open a different account and gave impossible instructions on how to accomplish this. I said, just transfer the money to the only account that I have and can log onto. They said they couldn’t do that. I said please close my account and return the funds that I deposited. They said on the support ticket that they couldn’t do that either. I asked for a phone number for support so that they could walk me through it. There is no support phone number. There is no mailing address. Now they no longer respond to my support ticket requests. I believe this company is a scam.

“Received a message stating that withdrawals are unavailable.”

December 22, 2021

I put in a little over $US600 ($833) total in US dollars and SHIB coin to buy the 2974 Steph Curry NFT (priced at $US499 ($693) total). I was charged 2.5M SHIB to transfer my crypto to FTX (roughly $91 USD ($126) at the time of writing this email). Error messages when attempting to buy included please try again not enough funds and too many attempts try again in 24 minutes. After NFT sale ended, I attempted to withdraw my assets and received a message stating that withdrawals are unavailable.

“At this point, I just want to liquidate my account and get my money out”

November 1, 2021

About 2 months ago, a cryptocurrency investing app – Blockfolio was sold to FTX. At that time, the Blockfolio app required an update and changed to the FTX app. At that time, I lost the ability to log into my account. I’ve logged many tickets with their tech support site and did work with one person who helped me change my password so I could log into my account. However, my account now shows a $US0 ($0) balance. Company’s website provides not contact information (no phone number or address) beyond the ability open a trouble ticket. I’ve opened several tickets explaining the issue and requesting a call back from a live agent, but no response. I’m sure there is a technical glitch somewhere, but I cannot get anyone to assist me and I have not had access to my funds for over a month. At this point, I just want to liquidate my account and get my money out, but I cannot get anyone to assist with this so I’d like to formally lodge a complaint with the trading commission. Thank you.

“It takes no time to deposit”

November 30, 2021

I have made few deposits that adds up to 1600$ in FTX. The platform stated it will take up to 3-5 business days to be able to withdraw my money. But my last deposit was on Nov 23rd and the app still on allow me to withdraw. It takes no time to deposit but crazily long process to withdraw.

“I have been unable to log into my account.”

November 2, 2021

Blockfolio was a good cryptocurrency app I used to invest in stock. Since they updated their app and renamed it to FTX, I have been unable to log into my account. Its asks me to update my password which I have no problem doing so but it stays on the same screen and does not let me do anything else. I have made a report but have not heard back from the company. A lot of users have also complained about this and have even said their cryptocurrency has been wiped clean and can no longer see their deposits. This company seems like a scam and I would like to report it so this doesnt keep happening to other people. Please contact me at [redacted] with any questions or concerns. Thank you.

“This is my life savings”

October 20, 2021

On Sunday October 17 at 11:00pm my FTX crypto account was either hacked or stolen by the exchange. I had over $US120,000.00 ($166,584) in this account. They have not given me any information on what has happen to my account its just gone. Please help me this is my life savings.

“I was advised ftx has no record of my account.”

October 16, 2021

Access to my account was changed during an app update. I reached out to support@blockfolio.com. it was very poor support. It took months to get a reply. I was asked to contact compliance@ftx.us, I am still waiting for a response on my concerns. I was advised ftx has no record of my account. I have a confirmation email, support emails and bank records that support I do I have an account. I had just over 13 SOL crypto coins which I also have screen shots of. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

“As of my understanding, no one has been able to recover their funds.”

August 23, 2021

In June 2021 I deposited $US800 ($1,111) to buy cryptocurrency. I was told to wait 15 business days before withdrawing. On August 2nd I decided to withdraw my funds and there was an error (Said that I had a read only account). I reached out to customer service on August 2nd to get help. They asked for a copy of my identification and a selfie to prove my identity. I sent it in. They asked for it again on August 5th. I sent it in. They asked for them all in one picture on August 8th 2021, I send that in on August 8th, 2021 and they stopped responding. I wrote them no less than seven times asking for an update in the status. I wrote them again on a new thread which issued me a new trouble ticket number. I was told by one customer service person to try to delete the app and re-install. I did and reported to them that it didn’t work and they have not responded. I looked online to check to see if anyone else has been having problems and there were 5-10 people who were all having problems withdrawing their funds from FTX/Blockfolio. As of my understanding, no one has been able to recover their funds. Each of us has deposited enough to be worth tens of thousands of dollars in the near future.

“I have no recourse”

May 14, 2021

On 5/6/2021 I sent a wire transfer in order to exchange these funds for crypto assets like Bitcoin. I’ve verified from my bank that they have received the funds, but the exchange is holding on to the funds without crediting it to my account and without recalling the wire. I have had no access to these funds for over a week. They do not answer my emails but sent a notification that they will hold on to my funds. I have no recourse.