The FBI, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, has issued out a warning on Monday that fraudsters are set to release a slurry of coronavirus-themed scams directed at cryptocurrencies in particular.
Using Crypto To Stay Anonymous
The FBI warned that this threat isn’t insulated to the US, however. This stands as a global, opportunistic danger to everyone involved. The problem is, is the issue itself gets further compounded thanks to a large number of merchants now accepting crypto, according to the warning.
The FBI explained that these fraudulent elements leverage the massively increased levels of uncertainty and fear spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this, they try to steal your money, then launder it through the cryptocurrency ecosystem to remove the trail. The FBI warned that the fraudulent actors have no qualm about age, and will target their victims indiscriminately.
Many Avenues Of Attack
The agency is convinced that this new wave of scammers will tailor their false pitch to the situation at hand. The FBI speculated that one such grift involves posing as a newly-remote worker, who pretends to be charged with collecting “donations” through emails. Another suspected avenue is posing as safety equipment vendors operating outside of established e-commerce. The FBI further warned that a significant red flag should be raised if an online charity organization advertises itself and exclusively takes cryptocurrencies.
One of the more traditional ways these scams can come up is in the form of blackmail, with a very unique twist. Instead of the usual baseless exposure threats, fraudsters may threaten to infect a victim and his family with the coronavirus, lest they pay out in Bitcoin. It should be pointed out that the coronavirus can’t be transferred electronically, regardless of proponents claiming it to be as such.
Stay Safe, Stay Rational, Stay Lucid
In theme with the aforementioned threat, the FBI urged the people that they should employ the age-old tool of common sense when it comes to these threats. Furthermore, they recommend verifying a vendor’s legitimacy, and stay away from giving any bank account information. Should attempts of blackmail or extortion occur, people should report it to the relevant law enforcement.
The FBI did not immediately comment to justify why they issued out a warning, but it’s a safe bet to speculate that they’ve experienced a massive influx in scam attempts these past few weeks. If something exists, someone will make money from it, as the saying goes.