Tagged: bitcoin Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 20, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bitcoin, , , , , ,   

    Scam Round Up: Store robbed over the phone and more 

    By Greg Collier

    To end the workweek, we’re bringing you a few scams that either have a new twist to them, or have appeared in a new area.

    ***

    A new utility scam has shown up in the Huntsville, Alabama area. Typically, scammers will attempt the shut-off scam, where they threaten victims with shutting off their power if they don’t pay immediately. Now, scammers are trying a different tack. They’re sending phishing emails to victims that say the victim has paid their power bill twice and the victim now has a credit. For the victim to get the credit back, they just need to click the link in the email. The link then takes the victim to a malicious website that asks for their personal and financial information. Remember, most utility companies only communicate by postal mail. If you think there may be a discrepancy in your bill, call the customer service number on your bill instead of any number on the email.

    ***

    We frequently discuss the online puppy scam. This is where victims think they’re buying a puppy from a breeder’s website, but the website is fake and the puppy never existed. Another victim in those scams are the legitimate breeders, as the pictures from their website are often stolen to be used on the fake website. This recently happened to a breeder of Australian Labradoodles in Texas. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot breeders can do about this. However, there are tips you can use to avoid being taken in a puppy scam provided by the breeder. For many purebred dogs from a legitimate breeder, you should expect a wait period. She says that it could be six to 12 months. Avoid breeders who ask for payment in non-traditional ways, such as payment apps like Venmo and Zelle. But as always, we recommend using a licensed breeder within driving distance or adopting from your local shelter.

    ***

    Lastly, we have a scam that happened in Kingsport, Tennessee that retail employees may be interested in. A convenience store employee received a phone call on a Saturday morning. The caller claimed to be from corporate headquarters and asked the employee to take the cash in the register to a Bitcoin ATM. The caller even sent an Uber to pick up the employee to take them to the Bitcoin ATM. The store ended up losing $4500. Often, employees like this have no management on site to ask whether this is a scam or not. If you’re in a supervisory or management position at a retail vendor, you may want to have a talk with your employees about scams like this, or make yourself more available in case of a call like this. Let your employees know that a corporation would never direct them to send money through Bitcoin.

    ***

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 9, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bitcoin, , , ,   

    Victims burned twice in Bitcoin scam 

    Victims burned twice in Bitcoin scam

    By Greg Collier

    Since it gained mainstream popularity, Bitcoin has had an air of fraud around it. While people have gotten wealthy through the mining, trading, and investing of Bitcoin, it’s also attracted a large number of scammers. While every Bitcoin transaction is recorded on a public ledger, it’s virtually impossible to reclaim if stolen. Also, due to the fact that Bitcoin is decentralized and has no governing authority, victims of Bitcoin scams have little to no recourse.

    One of these scams is targeting users of Instagram and takes advantage of hacked accounts. Once an Instagram account is compromised, the scammers will use this account to message other users on the account’s friends list, telling them how they’ve made money through Bitcoin. One Instagram use from Omaha, Nebraska, was asked to invest $500 through Cash App to purchase Bitcoin. However, before she could get her Bitcoin, she was asked to record a testimonial saying how successful this Bitcoin scheme was. Not only did she lose the $500, but now a video of her touting the success of this Bitcoin scheme is being shared on social media.

    Unless you have a complete understanding of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency and general, it’s advised to avoid any Bitcoin transactions. This includes friends on social media telling you how much money they made. If you receive a message like that, message your friend back through other means to ask them if they meant to send that message.

    Also, please keep in mind that the majority of agencies and companies will never ask for payment for some kind of bill in Bitcoin. You should also be aware of services who claim to be able to get your stolen Bitcoin back for a fee. That is also a scam.

    Lastly, as with any investment, never invest any money you can’t afford to lose.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 20, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bitcoin, , , , ,   

    The latest twist on the police impersonation scam 

    The latest twist on the police impersonation scam

    By Greg Collier

    Law enforcement officers and agents are arguably the people most imitated by scammers. Most people either have a certain respect for or a fear of the police. So, it seems almost an obvious choice for scammers to impersonate police to get their victims to do what they want.

    We’ve discussed many of these police impersonation scams before. The two most common police impersonation scams are the jury duty scam and the arrest warrant scam. Actually, they’re both the same scam. In the jury duty scam, the scammers will call their victims to tell them they’ve missed jury duty. The victims are then instructed to make a payment over the phone or a warrant will be issued for their arrest. In the arrest warrant scam, the scammers just say that there is a warrant out for the victim’s arrest, although a payment could make the warrant go away.

    When these scammers ask, or in some cases, demand payment, they usually ask the victim to pay through untraceable means. These usually include payment apps like Venmo and Zelle, prepaid debit cards like Green Dot, cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, and of course, gift cards.

    King City, on the Central Coast of California, has reported that scammers are posing as one of their detectives in a police impersonation scam. However, the scammer isn’t threatening their victims with arrest. In this case, the scammer says that they’re investigating a case where the victim’s identity has been stolen. The victim is then instructed by the phony detective to move all their money from the bank to a Bitcoin account to clear their identity. In reality, the money goes into the scammer’s Bitcoin wallet, and they make off with the victim’s money.

    This scam isn’t just limited to your local police department, either. In the past, we have seen scammers pose as the FBI, the DEA, Homeland Security, and Border Patrol just to name a few. However, you can protect yourself from this scam with just one important piece of knowledge. No law enforcement office or agency will ever demand payment for anything over the phone.

    If you ever receive one of these phone calls, try to give the caller as little information as possible and tell them you’ll call them back. Don’t let them keep you on the phone. Then call your local police department and inform them of the call.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 14, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bitcoin, , ,   

    Bitcoin ATMs are a new tool in the scammer’s bag of tricks 

    Bitcoin ATMs are a new tool in the scammer's bag of tricks

    By Greg Collier

    Within the past year or so, we’ve seen the rise of scams that involve Bitcoin ATMs. As you’re probably aware of, Bitcoin is the most well-known cryptocurrency. In case you need a refresher, cryptocurrency is a digital currency that is decentralized and not backed by any bank or government. While a record of all cryptocurrency transactions are kept in what’s known as a public ledger, it’s almost impossible to reverse a transaction. This is what makes cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin so attractive to scammers.

    Cryptocurrency’s acceptance among a large part of the public has led to the rise of Bitcoin ATMs. These machines allow anybody to buy Bitcoin for cash. Conversely, you can also cash out your Bitcoin for its current market value. We’re concerned more with another function of Bitcoin ATMs, and that’s the ability to send Bitcoin to anybody who has a digital wallet.

    Whereas scammers have typically used gift cards to scam their victims out of money, Bitcoin ATMs are slowly starting to replace gift cards as the scammer’s payment of choice. Just in the past week, there have been reports of victims losing thousands of dollars to scammers after sending them money through Bitcoin ATMs. A woman from Buffalo, New York, sent $30,000 to scammers who told her that her bank account had been hacked. Another woman from Northeast Pennsylvania sent $25,000 to scammers through a Bitcoin ATM in an unspecified scam.

    Unless you’re an active trader who’s well-versed in the ways of cryptocurrency, any mention of cryptocurrency should throw up a red flag. Much like gift cards, no legitimate company or agency will force you to make any kind of payment in cryptocurrency. Banks will not ask you to exchange the money in your account for cryptocurrency, that’s not how banks work. If a bank account does get hacked, that money disappears instantly. There is no grace period where you can move your money to protect it. Lastly, as mentioned above, Bitcoin ATMs are only supposed to be used for the buying and selling of Bitcoin. Anybody who tries to get you to use it for any other reason is probably trying to scam you.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 29, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bitcoin, , ,   

    Antivirus scam costs victim $19,000 

    Antivirus scam costs victim $19,000

    By Greg Collier

    If you’re a computer user who’s been using the internet since the dial-up days, you may still be using antivirus software. Even older users who may have just gotten on the internet probably use antivirus software as well. If you’re in one of these demographics, you may have it ingrained into your internet habits to have robust protection against computer viruses. Most users will opt for the free package many antivirus companies offer. Others will want that extra protection and pay for an antivirus subscription. It’s the latter group that scammers are hoping to catch unaware.

    An Indiana woman recently fell victim to an antivirus scam. She says that a notification appeared on her computer that said she had been charged $500 for Norton Antivirus. The victim had not used Norton in a while, but felt the service may have been one of her bills that are on auto-payment. The notification she received also included a phone number to call in case of any questions.

    The victim called the number and was told the problem could be corrected if the customer service representative could have remote access to her computer. The victim entered an access code on her computer, and the rep then had access. The rep then claimed that they had made a mistake and the victim now owed them $12,000. To rectify the matter, the victim was instructed to withdraw $12,000 from her bank and transfer it to Bitcoin using a Bitcoin ATM at a local gas station.

    If you’re a regular reader, you already know where this is going. The notification and call center were both run by scammers. Not only did the scammers get the $12,000 in Bitcoin, but they also took an additional $7,000 directly from the victim’s bank account.

    If you receive an email, text, or any kind of message from some company that claims you owe them money, do not call the phone number included. Instead, go to the company’s official website, and use the phone number from there. Furthermore, most legitimate companies do not ask for any kind of payment in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. While Bitcoin is easy to track, it’s nearly impossible to recover once it’s given to scammers. And please keep in mind, you shouldn’t give remote access to your device to any stranger. Lastly, no real company will ask you to withdraw money from your account if they made a mistake. Any decent company worth their salt can correct the matter on their end without any need for bank access.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 10, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bitcoin, , Ethereum, ,   

    Cryptocurrency scams are riskier than ever 

    Cryptocurrency scams are riskier than ever

    By Greg Collier

    Even though it’s risen in popularity within the past few years, cryptocurrency has actually been around for over a decade. The first and most well-known cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, which was first made public in 2009. Others such as Ethereum have also risen to prominence in that time. These are virtual currencies which have no centralized regulatory body. Cryptocurrencies are started with a built-in scarcity in mind, meaning there can only ever be a limited number of ‘coins’. The way these coins are mined is by computers solving complex mathematical equations. While someone can technically mine for cryptocurrency on their laptop, professional miners use large banks of computers with above-average processing power.

    While the idea of cryptocurrency may seem sound on paper, due to its virtual nature, it’s susceptible to all sorts of scams. It seems like on an almost weekly basis, there are tabloid-like headlines recounting hacks, heists, and schemes that have cost crypto investors millions. But we’re here to discuss the average consumer who have also been affected by cryptocurrency scams.

    The Better Business Bureau recently issued a report that said cryptocurrency scams were the 2nd riskiest scam for Americans in 2021. In 2020, cryptocurrency scams were only the 7th riskiest according to the BBB. The average consumer/investor typically does not have the time or the computing power to start mining. Instead, they’ll try to purchase cryptocurrency from someone else. These are usually done on marketplaces called exchanges. There are many legitimate exchanges, but there are also a number of fraudulent ones.

    The most common cryptocurrency investment scam involves these fraudulent exchanges. An investor will be promised a guaranteed return on their investment. Except, when the investor tries to cash out, they’ll be told by the exchange that the investor needs to pay a tax or security fee to the exchange. This is often an exorbitant amount that makes the investment not worth it. 66% of people targeted in this scam have lost money.

    Like with traditional investments, you should always do your research before committing any money to cryptocurrency. Don’t take any cryptocurrency advice from people you meet online, as they’re often part of the scam. Even friends who message you about investing in cryptocurrency could have had their social media accounts hacked. And the most important advice for any investment is never invest money that you can’t afford to lose.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 14, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bitcoin, , , , Indeed, ,   

    Contemporary job offer is same old scam 

    Contemporary job offer is same old scam

    By Greg Collier

    The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning over a company that offered positions in cryptocurrency trading that was allegedly a scam. Several people have reported applying for a position on the job board Indeed that ended up costing the victims thousands of dollars. The position was said to be for a portfolio manager for stock and Bitcoin, but instead, the victims were used as money mules. While dealing in Bitcoin trading may seem like a job of the future, in this instance, it turned out to be one of the oldest job scams in the books.

    Right off the bat, the victims received payments in their own bank accounts. They were then instructed to use the money to purchase Bitcoin for clients. One victim even used his own Cash App account to purchase the cryptocurrency. A few days after receiving the payments and having already bought Bitcoin, the victims’ banks inform them that the payments they received were fraudulent. This meant that their bank accounts were overdrawn by thousands of dollars, which the banks hold them responsible for. The supposed company has since disappeared from the internet.

    If this scam sounds familiar, that’s because it’s a variation of the fake check scam. Even though no paper checks were involved in this particular scam, the outcome is the same. No legitimate employer will ever ask you to deposit funds to be used for business into your own bank account. Scammers are taking advantage of a courtesy of banks that lets you withdraw money from your account before the check or payment has been verified as legitimate.

    This story also shows that even well-known job boards like Indeed aren’t immune to job scams. These scammers even held multiple interviews, albeit online, with their victims. Victims were even sent official looking documentation that outlined their job responsibilities and salary.

    Scammers are so practiced in their craft that they can appear to be a legitimate business. However, there is almost always a telltale sign to indicate a scam. In this case, it’s using your own bank account for supposed business related expenses.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 31, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bitcoin, , , , ,   

    Are more scammers asking for Bitcoin? 

    By Greg Collier

    Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned consumers they’ve seen a rise in scammers using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Traditionally, scammers usually lean toward trying to collect money from their victims through means like gift cards and money transfers. That’s because gift cards and money transfers are things that most people understand. Meanwhile, if you say cryptocurrency to most consumers, you’ll get a puzzled look. However, the FTC says that scammers have come up with a new and easy way to get victims to pay in cryptocurrency.

    According to the FTC, scammers are now getting their victims to scan QR Codes with their phones. Once a victim scams the QR Code with their phone, the victim just paid the scammer in cryptocurrency. Fortunately, there’s a process that needs to take place before scanning the code that should tip you off that you’re being scammed. The FTC warning states that the scammers will try to get you to go to a Bitcoin ATM, to scan the code. In other instances, the scammers will try to get you to move money out of your bank before getting you to scan the code.

    For example, a man from Athens, Georgia, was recently taken for $45,000 in a tech support scam. A computer pop-up told him his computer had been infected with a virus, and he needed to call Microsoft at a number listed on the pop-up. The scammers told him his computer and phone had been compromised, and he needed to move his money to a cryptocurrency account to protect it. After he moved his money, the scammers gave him a QR code to scan. Once the victim did that, his money was gone, having been transferred to the scammer.

    In most consumer cases, cryptocurrency should be treated just like gift cards. The vast majority of businesses and agencies do not ask for payment in Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency. While cryptocurrency is not untraceable, it is extremely difficult to get back once it’s been sent from one crypto wallet to another. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are still only used in niche circles, despite what its more vocal proponents will tell you.

    So, if someone contacts you and asks for payment in Bitcoin, it’s more than likely a scam.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on December 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bitcoin, , pig butchering scam, ,   

    Man loses $1M in romance/crypto scam 

    By Greg Collier

    Traditionally, in an online romance scam, the scammers cultivate a false romantic relationship with their victims to get the victim to send the scammer money. The scammed often pose as military personnel, oil rig workers, or international businessmen to avoid meeting the victim face to face. Now, there’s a new scam that shares many traits with the romance scam, but instead of asking the victim for money, the scammers are directing their victims to ‘invest’ in cryptocurrency.

    A 52-year-old man from Denver recently spoke to his local media about how he lost over $1 million in this scam. He is said to have met a woman online who supposedly also lived in Denver, although he never met her face-to-face. After a few weeks, the conversation turned to cryptocurrency. The woman said that she invests in cryptocurrency using a certain platform and app. She suggested to the man that he should invest as well. The man had made money before investing in cryptocurrency, so this was something he was familiar with. After the man checked out the platform, he thought it was all legitimate. He transferred a small amount of cryptocurrency into his account and was able to take out his money with no problem. Thinking this was a good investment, the man put his entire retirement savings of $1.6 million into his account.

    At the end of the investment period, it appeared the man had made $8 million in returns. However, when he tried to withdraw his money, he was told he’d need to pay back the loan of the initial $1.6 million. When he asked them to take it out of his $8 million windfall, they refused.

    The scam has been given the unfortunate name of the ‘pig butchering’ scam. The victims are the pigs who the scammers ‘raise’ until it’s time to lead the victim to financial slaughter.

    Investing is tricky enough, but when you add the volatility of cryptocurrency that can change wildly in value due to a tweet from Elon Musk, it becomes even more difficult. If you’re looking to get into investing, never invest more than you can afford to lose, even if the investment looks like a sure thing.

    As far as romance scam goes, if your online partner keeps giving excuses as to why you can’t meet them or see them face to face, there‚Äôs a great chance you’re being scammed.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 10, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bitcoin, , , ,   

    Victim loses $21,000 to Bitcoin ATM scam 

    Victim loses $21,000 to Bitcoin ATM scam

    By Greg Collier

    A woman from Michigan was really taken for a ride by scammers. Before it was all over, she had lost $21,000. The scam had started, like many do. One scammer had called the woman posing as a US Border Patrol agent. She was told that a bank account had been opened in her name and was linked to criminal activity. She was then instructed to remove $21,000 from her own bank account and deposit it into a Bitcoin ATM at a gas station not to far from where she lived.

    It seems that this wasn’t enough to intimidate the victim into making the deposit. She was asked what was the nearest police department to her, and she gave that information to the caller. She then received a call from someone posing as the chief of police, from her local police department. Furthermore, she was told that if she didn’t comply with the phony border agent, she would be committing a crime. It was at this point the victim deposited the money at a Bitcoin ATM. It wasn’t until she told other family members that she realized she had been scammed.

    Bitcoin ATMs have become increasingly popular with scammers due to the cryptocurrency’s perceived anonymity. However, no law enforcement agency will ever ask you to move money in such a way, even if an account in your name was being used for fraudulent activity. At the worst, you may have some agents or police officers asking you a few questions in person. The mention of any type of cryptocurrency should also be a dead giveaway to a scam.

    If you receive one of these calls, hang up and call the agency they claim to be calling from at their non-emergency number.

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel