The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued an official warning on Monday about the rise in cryptocurrency fraud cases that mention the current coronavirus pandemic.
“Fraudsters use increased levels of fear and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money and launder it through a complex cryptocurrency ecosystem,” the warning says.
It is noted that the victims of cryptocurrency schemes are people of all ages, including representatives of the older generation. The largest increase in activity is associated with the following areas of illegal activity:
- Blackmail – Victims are demanding a ransom in bitcoins for the non-proliferation of “dirty secrets.” With the onset of the pandemic, they also began to receive threats of coronavirus infection;
- Offers of dubious distant work – Fraudsters disguised as employers may ask to accept a “donation” to a bank account and transfer it through a cryptocurrency terminal. This money is likely to be stolen, due to which the victim’s operations with them will be regarded as a violation of the law;
- Payment for nonexistent goods – Fraudsters attract victims on trusted e-commerce sites through third-party resources, offering cryptocurrency products to prevent coronavirus, which actually does not exist;
- Investment Fraud – Fraudsters continue to use unrealistic, quick enrichment offers to raise funds in cryptocurrencies. As an example, the FBI cites initial coin offerings (ICOs).
“The development of cryptocurrency technology and the increase in the number of companies accepting them as a payment method have led to an increase in the popularity and accessibility of cryptocurrencies. Despite the existence of full-fledged charitable organizations, investment platforms and e-commerce sites that accept payments in cryptocurrencies, the persistence in their use should be considered as a significant alarm signal, ”the department adds.
FBI Director Christopher Ray previously stated:
“Cryptocurrencies are definitely a serious problem, and we can easily predict that it will only grow over time.”
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