This week is observed as INTERNATIONAL FRAUD AWARENESS WEEK and the ACPO Financial Crimes Unit is advising the public to exercise caution in connection to cryptocurrency scams. This scam is a type of investment fraud that involves criminals stealing money from people who are hoping to invest in the new world of digital currency. The Federal Bureau of Investigation released a public service announcement on Nov. 4, 2021, to warn the public of fraudulent schemes, leveraging cryptocurrency ATMs and Quick Response (QR) codes to facilitate payment. Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) | The FBI Warns of Fraudulent Schemes Leveraging Cryptocurrency ATMs and QR Codes to Facilitate Payment. The FBI advises that the agency has seen an increase in scammers directing victims to use physical cryptocurrency ATMs and digital QR codes to complete payment transactions.
Tips from the FBI on how to Protect Yourself from CRYPTOCURRENCY SCAMS:
- Do not send payment to someone you have only spoken to online, even if you believe you have established a relationship with the individual.
- Do not follow instructions from someone you have never met to scan a QR code and send payment via a physical cryptocurrency ATM.
- Do not respond to a caller, who claims to be a representative of a company, where you are an account holder, and who requests personal information or demands cryptocurrency. Contact the number listed on your card or the entity directly for verification.
- Do not respond to a caller from an unknown telephone number, who identifies as a person you know and requests cryptocurrency.
- Practice caution when an entity states they can only accept cryptocurrency and identifies as the government, law enforcement, a legal office, or a utility company. These entities will likely not instruct you to wire funds, send checks, send money overseas, or make deposits into unknown individuals’ accounts.
- Avoid cryptocurrency ATMs advertising anonymity and only requiring a phone number or e-mail. 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.
- If you are using a cryptocurrency ATM and the ATM operator calls you to explain that your transactions are consistent with fraud and advises you to stop sending money, you should stop or cancel the transaction.
How To Report Cryptocurrency Scams
Report fraud and other suspicious activity involving cryptocurrency to
- the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov
- the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) at CFTC.gov/complaint
- the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at sec.gov/tcr
- the cryptocurrency exchange company you used to send the money
Once again, you can report fraud to the Federal Trade Commission below and obtain tips on how to avoid scams:
ReportFraud.ftc.gov is the federal government’s website where you can report fraud, scams, and bad business practices:
Visit consumer.ftc.gov to find tips and learn how to avoid scams.