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FBI Issues Public Warning After Crypto Scams Rising in US

According to the FBI, scammers target victims by impersonating government officials, possible love partners, and even lottery winners.

 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States has issued a warning about the increasing number of crypto frauds that are developing in the country. The FBI stated in a recent Public Service Announcement (PSA) that scammers are forcing innocent consumers to use physical bitcoin ATMs and digital QR Codes to accomplish criminal transactions. Despite the fact that the US is still working on regulating the crypto industry, Bitcoin ATMs are beginning to appear in public places in the US and other countries. Transacting using QR Codes is becoming more common in the United States, with companies such as AMC Theatres accepting crypto payments for tickets.

The government agency has recommended consumers not to accept crypto-payment solicitations from unknown callers and to prevent from disclosing any personal information on calls.

Schemes involving online impersonation of government authorities, romance scams, and lottery scams are just a few of the ways that malicious crypto-scammers have preyed on the unwary.

“The fraudster frequently demands payment from the victim and may instruct the victim to withdraw funds from the victim’s bank accounts, such as investment or retirement accounts.” “The scammers supply the victim with a QR code associated with the scammer’s cryptocurrency wallet to utilise during the transaction,” the FBI noted in its warning. “The fraudster then sends the victim to an actual bitcoin ATM where they may insert their money, buy cryptocurrency, and utilise the provided QR code to auto-populate the destination address.”

Crypto owners are also urged to avoid using ATM machines that promote “anonymity” and only enable transactions based on phone numbers and email addresses.

“These cryptocurrency ATMs may be non-compliant with US federal regulations and may facilitate money laundering. Instructions to use cryptocurrency ATMs with these specific characteristics are a significant indicator of fraud,” the FBI noted.

Bitcoin ATMs are becoming more common in the United States and other countries as usage grows. Walmart announced in October the installation of 200 Bitcoin ATMs in various store branches around the United States, allowing customers to purchase the cryptocurrency. Bitcoin ATMs, for example, allow consumers in El Salvador to transact in the crypto currency or convert it to money.

According to the FBI, scammers aim to keep all communication online in order to conceal their true identities while leading their victims through their deception step by step.