A U.S. consumer protection agency warns of a “new spin” in cryptocurrency scams by raising alert about impersonators tricking people to send them money through crypto ATMs.
The Federal Trade Commission, in a notification Monday, said scammers call people claiming to work for the government, or law enforcement or for local utility company, then finally start asking for money.
Scammers will stay on line asking people to withdraw money from their bank, retirement or investment accounts & tell them to go to a place with a crypto ATMs. While there, they will be asked to put the money in the machine to buy crypto.
“This is where the QR code comes in: they send you a QR code with their address embedded,” the agency said, pointing out the steps of a fraudster.
“Once you bought the cryptocurrency, you scanned the code, so the money is transferred to them. But then your money gone,” said Cristina Miranda with the FTC Division of consumer & business education in statement.
Scammers will also target people by calling them & pretending that they have won the lottery or a prize or act like the romantic interest they have encountered online.
The FTC’s warning comes as cryptocurrency crimes skyrocketed in 2021. According to Chainalysis, scammers generated $7.7 million in revenue last year, an 81% increase from a year ago. The blockchain data platform said the increase in crimes was largely due to so-called “rug pulls” in which the developers of a cryptocurrency project, usually a new token , abandon it & take their funds from the users.
“No one from the government, law enforcement, utility comapny, or price promoter will ever tell you to pay for them with cryptocurrency,” the FTC said. “Any unexpected tweets, texts, emails, calls or social media messages, especially from someone you don’t know, asking you to prepay for something, even with cryptocurrency, is a scam.