Warning: New Crypto Scams Target Investors

Warning: New Crypto Scams Target Investors


The FBI has issued a warning about a new form of crypto scam targeting investors. Criminals posing as potential romantic interests, or as financial institutions, try to convince victims to make deposits using crypto ATMs. After receiving coins for the transaction, the scammers instruct the mark to send the digital currency to an address embedded in a QR code.

Another scam involving social media apps like Instagram is also on the rise. Users report that the scheme involves hackers using phishing sites to steal Instagram login information. Hackers then demand that the victims make videos to promote fraudulent crypto exchange sites to get their accounts back.

Crypto ATM Scam

The Crypto ATM scam is straightforward but ingenious. It starts with a con artist convincing a mark that they’re a financial institution or potentially a romantic interest. Sometimes the scam takes the form of the criminal posing as an investor interested in sharing their riches with the victim. In either case, the scammer tells the mark to make a transaction at a crypto ATM that accepts QR codes.

Once the unsuspecting investor purchases the crypto, they use the QR code the thief gives them to send the untraceable digital currency to the wrong account. In short, this scam is wire transfer fraud, but for cryptocurrency.

Since digital currency is nearly untraceable and transactions are impossible to reverse, victims usually have no recourse once the money is out of their account.

Stealing Account Info

The other scam involves crypto less directly. Users on sites like Instagram have reported that hackers are stealing account information using phishing sites. Typically, these scams start with a scammer promoting a crypto mining site or similar investment opportunity. Once users try to sign up, they unwittingly give away their account information.

Hackers will then change the account’s password and contact the victim. The criminals reportedly demand that the mark make a video promoting the scam site in exchange for their changed login information. However, after making the fake video, the victim isn’t given back access to their account. Instead, the scammer uploads the video and keeps the login info.

Instagram users are encouraged to use strong passwords on their accounts. Likewise, users should avoid repeating passwords on different platforms. The best way to prevent hackers from accessing your account is to enable two-factor authentication.

The best tip for avoiding scams is the simplest. If someone you don’t know online asks for money, don’t send it to them. You can never know who is on the other end of an online transaction.