April 14, 2020 – The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) advises regarding an increase in cryptocurrency fraud schemes.
As per Coindesk, the increasing number of merchants accepting crypto, as well as the complexity of the crypto ecosystem as a whole are major reasons why many scammers are using the current public health crisis to prey on victims through crypto.
The FBI cited the following crypto fraud schemes:
- Blackmail – Threatening emails or letters demanding the receiver to pay in Bitcoin to prevent the release of the receiver’s private information. FBI said the twist now is that the scammer will threaten to release your information and infect them and their family with the virus unless they pay the bitcoins.
- Work From Home Scams – The scammer will pose as an employer and will ask you to accept a donation in your bank account and then deposit that in a crypto kiosk.
- Payment for Non-Existent Treatments or Equipment – Scammers will lure customers to e-commerce websites with equipment that they claim can combat COVID-19, and then entices them to pay in crypto.
- Investment Scams – Criminals will pitch a new cryptocurrency, offering large returns for small investments.
The FBI said that while there are legitimate charities and platforms that accept cryptocurrency as payment, they warn customers to consider it a red flag if they are being pressured to use it as a payment method.
Lastly, the FBI offers the following tips regarding cryptocurrency fraud:
- Verify the vendor/charity is legitimate
- Conduct extensive research on potential investment opportunities
- Do not use personal bank accounts for work-from-home business-related activity.
- Contact law enforcement before paying out extortion attempts.
The FBI said it has an entire team dedicated to preventing and combating cryptocurrency money laundering and fraud.
This article is published on BitPinas: FBI: COVID Scammers are Targeting Crypto Holders