The Federal Bureau of Investigation just issued an alert to people of all ages, warning that Bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrency scammers are likely to find new ways to steal funds by taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a news release published by the US agency on Monday, people should watch out for potential work-from-home scams, investment scams, threatening emails or letters and efforts to lure customers into buying non-existent treatment or equipment.
“Developments in cryptocurrency technology and an increasing number of businesses accepting it as payment have driven the growing popularity and accessibility of cryptocurrency. There are not only numerous virtual asset service providers online but also thousands of cryptocurrency kiosks located throughout the world which are exploited by criminals to facilitate their schemes…
Although there are legitimate charities, investment platforms, and e-commerce sites that accept payment in cryptocurrency, pressure to use a virtual currency should be considered a significant red flag.”
The FBI has also released a set of tips on how to avoid scammers.
The agency says people should always verify that a company or charity is legitimate and accepts crypto assets before sending funds. Consumers should also do their own thorough research on any potential investment opportunities.
In addition, people should avoid using personal bank accounts for work-related or business-related activity and report any threats to the FBI before taking action.
The FBI says it now has an entire team at its Criminal Investigative Division that’s targeting crypto scammers to stop money laundering and fraud.