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FBI issues a warning on bogus job postings for cryptocurrency

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According to a recent FBI study, scammers are increasingly using bogus employment advertisements to entice victims into scam compounds in Southeast Asia where they are coerced into taking part in illegal bitcoin investment schemes.

This new type of abuse is an upsetting mashup of cryptocurrency fraud and human trafficking.

New types of fraud

On May 22, the FBI released a warning informing both US citizens and people living or traveling abroad to be on the lookout for false job postings linked to labor trafficking. The cited article states that victims have been

“held against their will, intimidated, and forced to commit international cryptocurrency investment fraud schemes.”

Criminals are exploiting social media platforms and online job portals to spread false job adverts in a targeted manner, with a particular focus on people in Asia.

These fake job offers include a range of vocations, including tech support, call center customer service, and technician positions in beauty parlors. Prospective workers are seduced by the alluring promises of high earnings, enticing benefits, and all-inclusive travel arrangements that include lodging and meals.

Victims arrive in a strange nation only to find themselves trapped inside these compounds with no way out. To maintain control over their victims, the criminals use a variety of coercive techniques. Passports and other travel-related documents may occasionally be seized, leaving the victims with no way to flee. In order to induce fear and enforce cooperation, threats of violence and actual physical harm are also used as techniques. Additionally, the thieves use debt bondage, charging victims with fictitious bills for lodging and travel costs. As victims are caught in a vicious cycle of exploitation, this rising debt is used as a tool of control.

Particularly alarming is the connection between bitcoin fraud and human trafficking. By taking advantage of the decentralized nature of digital assets and their anonymity, victims are coerced into taking part in fraudulent bitcoin investment schemes. This gives criminals the ability to conceal the source of money, making it extremely challenging for law enforcement to track down and seize the proceeds of these illegal acts.

The Crypto Community Has Been Affected by the Rise in Crypto Scams

The FBI has invited those who have fallen victim to these scams to come forward and report the crimes via an online portal. The FBI has aggressively handled numerous cases involving bitcoin frauds and other related events in recent years.

On May 1, a significant incident took place when the FBI’s Detroit Field Office worked with the Ukrainian National Police to carry out planned and sanctioned operations. Nine virtual currency exchange services had their domains seized as a result, and they were shut down later. A number of the names, including 24xbtc.com, 100btc.pro, pridechange.com, trust-exchange.org, and bitcoin24.exchange, were allegedly used by hackers.

A roundup of April’s cryptocurrency exploits and scams was published by crypto security and auditing firm CertiK on April 30, revealing a loss of $103.7 million. Half of all cryptocurrency exploits in 2023 were lost in April. Around the same time, an ongoing hack that promoted XRP cryptocurrency frauds targeted the well-known YouTube channel DidYouKnowGaming.

Finding Fake Crypto Jobs

When evaluating potentially fraudulent job offers related to cryptocurrencies, the FBI highlights a number of warning flags to be on the lookout for. Being aware of these signs will protect one against getting scammed. Here are some recommendations for that:

* Being wary of unsolicited employment offers that appear through emails or messages and advertise high-paying bitcoin positions.

* Noticing spelling and grammar flaws in badly written job advertising, as con artists routinely make faults in their fake job listings.

* Exercising caution if a job request asks for private keys, wallet passwords, or social security numbers because reputable businesses usually do not need these details during the hiring process.

* Recognizing job offers that make exaggerated claims of easy money, such as huge wages or riches guaranteed with little effort. And deal that seems too good to be true probably is, therefore skepticism is called for.

To protect themselves from these bogus crypto employment scams, job seekers should adhere to the instructions that the FBI has published. These steps entail investigating the company offering the job in-depth, confirming the provided contact information to ensure its validity, using reputable job platforms recognized for their credibility, trusting your instincts and exercising caution when evaluating job opportunities.

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