The Miami Field Office for the US Bureau of Investigation issued scam warnings for crypto ATMs, which allow users to withdraw cash in exchange for cryptocurrencies. According to their report, the ATMs are becoming a tool for crypto scammers to get funds from victims. The public was given this information as part of a great awareness campaign on October 3. The FBI warned the public about ‘pig butchering scams,’ in which nefarious scammers pretend to be potential romantic interests to steal money from victims.
Ever since crypto ATMs have become widely available, scammers have used them to get victims to send them money. Aside from this latest type of scam, they pose as employees from local energy companies, and even public or law enforcement officials. They tell victims to make payments, saying that it is to pay off unpaid taxes or bills to help avoid later penalties.
Scammers Winning Over Victims’ Trust before Discussing Investments
The FBI explained that scammers first try to gain victims’ trust before bringing up topics like investments in their discussions. They do so by acting as if genuinely interested in victims’ personalities. Giving a PSA in collaboration with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, the FBI warned that there’s no chance of victims getting their money back after a scam.
Based on Coin ATM Radar data, there are around 33,500 crypto ATMs in the US. Despite other countries efforts to become more crypt-friendly, the US makes up for 87.4 percent of the worldwide crypto ATM distribution.
Pig-Butchering Scams Making Users of Wire Transfers and Crypto ATMs
Aside from crypto ATMs, the FBI has noted that scammers are telling victims to transfer funds through prepaid cards and wire transfers. They explained how, in previous cases, victims report being told to purchase numerous prepaid cards or make a wire transfer to accounts overseas. Currently, the total losses from crypto-related scams can amount to millions of dollars.
In the scams, victims are told about the investment process, and prompted to make numerous deposits. Then, when victims try to withdraw their investment, scammers tell them to pay additional fees and income taxes. Consequently, they lose additional funds.
FBI Urges Users to Verify the Legitimacy of Investments
The FBI has warned the public to check the validity of any investment opportunity that is presented to them in such a manner. Additionally, users should look out for misspelled URLs and domain names that are posing as verified crypto exchanges. Most importantly, they should steer clear of applications that can’t be verified.
In January, the Federal Trade Commission warned the public about crypto ATM scams, pointing out that scammers can sometimes act as potential romantic interests. While some may assume that most victims lack awareness about cybersecurity issues, it’s not always likely. In June, reports showed that Silicon Valley professionals were victims of such scams in San Francisco.