The FTC published an alert of a new version of a scam involving cryptocurrencies. The scam has three key components, an impersonator, a QR code and a crypto ATM where the victims will be directed to send money.
According to the FTC, fraudsters pretend to be public officials, law enforcement agents or employees of local utility companies. The imposters also utilize dating apps and pretend to be potential romantic partners or call victims to announce that you’ve won a prize.
No matter how it starts, it always ends up with the scammer asking for money. If the user falls for the spiel, the scammer tells them to withdraw some cash and go to a crypto ATM. After that, they would ask to purchase crypto through the ATM. Here, the QR code comes into play. They share the QR code of their wallet address with the victim. Because of this, once the victim scans the code, the purchased crypto assets would transfer to the fraudster’s account.
Cristina Miranda from FTC’s the Division of Consumer and Business Education explains:
“Here’s the main thing to know: nobody from the government, law enforcement, utility company or prize promoter will ever tell you to pay them with cryptocurrency. If someone does, it’s a scam, every time.”
Meanwhile, a crypto crime report shows that in 2021, $7.7 billion worth of crypto was stolen from scam victims worldwide. The number reveals an 81% increase in comparison to 2020.