Financial Tip of the Week

Financial Tip of the Week

New Crypto Payment Scam Alert

by Cristina Miranda
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

There's a new spin on scammers asking people to pay with cryptocurrency. It involves an impersonator, a QR code and a trip to a store (directed by a scammer on the phone) to send your money to them through a cryptocurrency ATM.

It works like this: someone might call pretending to be from the government, law enforcement or a local utility company. Maybe a romantic interest you met online calls, or someone calls to say you’ve won the lottery or a prize. They’ll wind up asking you for money. If you believe the story they tell and you seem willing to engage, they’ll stay on the phone to direct you to withdraw money from your bank, investment or retirement accounts. Then they’ll tell you to go to a store with a cryptocurrency ATM (and they’ll stay on the phone the whole time). Once you’re there, they’ll direct you to insert your money into the ATM and buy cryptocurrency. Here’s where the QR code comes in: they send you a QR code with their address embedded in it. Once you buy the cryptocurrency, they have you scan the code so the money gets transferred to them. But then your money is gone.

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