The FBI has issued a Public Service Announcement PSA to people regarding a new strategy that scammers are using with the aid of cryptocurrency ATMs.
The FBI Issues Fresh Crypto Scam Tactics
According to the FBI, the scam artist typically convinces the unsuspecting person to put cash into his/her cryptocurrency ATM. Then the person is asked to send the purchased coins to the scammer using an address already stored in a QR code, says CoinDesk. Now, while the actual scamming is seemingly low-budget and low-tech, it’s still interesting to know that these criminals might be improving on their old methods. This time however, with crypto.
As the agency explains it, the scammer usually contacts their victim and somehow get them to the point where they ask them to send money, for promises of being together soon, or for promises of higher returns, or sometimes by even impersonating an actual financial institution like a bank or utility company. Upon convincing the potential victim, the scammer will then have them get cash (from anywhere they get, even if it means borrowing or taking out from their retirement funds), and head to an ATM that sells crypto and supports reading QR codes. Immediately the victim gets there, and scan the QR code that the scammer already sent them, the machine will be instructed send any crypto purchased to the scammer’s address. And just like that, the victim loses their money in a flash, and the scammer has successfully ripped them off of their hard earned money.
For all intents and purposes the tech upgrade by these scammers with the crypto ATM method is in two folds: it is not as cumbersome as sending a wire transfer, and at the end the scammer has cryptocurrency instead of fiat.
Of course, while trying to fill out a wire transfers form, someone else could check you and give you another set of eyes to really understand the implications of what you’re about doing. Meanwhile, using the ATM method does not even afford you the time to properly reflect on the fact that you’re about to send money to a complete stranger.
Although the FBI and FTC have already given out some good guidelines on how to avoid getting scammed, but the truth is, it all boils down to you. If someone you don’t know is asking you to send them money, don’t do it. Be it by cash or any other method, just don’t.
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