FBI warned people about cryptocurrency scams related to COVID-19. The US federal organization published a new national press release on April 13, expecting a rise in scams involving cryptocurrencies and associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Fraudsters are leveraging increased fear and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money and launder it through the complex cryptocurrency ecosystem,” warned FBI at the beginning of the article.
The federal bureau of investigation believes the recent growth in the development of cryptocurrency projects caused the rais of their popularity among the average population. Also, many more businesses nowadays accept cryptocurrency, and this means more users for the novel ecosystem.
On the other side, the bureau claims many scam and criminal activities are now managed through cryptocurrency infrastructure. And there are many online and offline ways for criminals to steal people’s money, especially the elderly. After all, the FBI warns about trending fraud schemes related to the current situation of the pandemic.
One of the new trends misusing the COVID-19 is the blackmail attempt. Those criminals threaten the victim to publish their personal information and infect them and their families with coronavirus. Some other criminals make contact in the name of donation for work from home. They transfer stolen money to the user’s account that is not licensed and legal.
Some criminals make users believe that some products and equipment are useful for fighting the novel coronavirus. They contact in the form od trusted e-commerce website and lure people into paying in cryptocurrency for products that don’t exist.
One of the most common scams is fraudulent ICO that claims about a new cryptocurrency. The criminals make the user believe the new token is a good investment in the days of coronavirus crisis.
FBI provides some prevention tips for users at the end of the press release, some of them are:
- Verifying the vendor/charity is legitimate
- Conducting extensive research on potential investment opportunities.
- Not using personal bank accounts for work-from-home business-related activity
- Contacting law enforcement before paying out any blackmail and/or extortion attempts
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