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FBI Suspects an Increase in Crypto Scams Amid COVID Fears

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The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) expects an increase in crypto-scams amid the COVID-19 pandemic and has issued a warning urging people to stay safe from money-laundering schemes. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has issued a warning towards citizens alerting them to be careful of crypto-related scams. The FBI expects a radical increase in the number of crypto-based frauds amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the press release, FBI noted that, though elderly citizens are more vulnerable to such attacks, people of all demographics are under threat and should be careful.

It stated, “The FBI advises you to be on the lookout for an increase in the following cryptocurrency fraud schemes related to COVID-19.”

Owing to the coronavirus outbreak, almost the entire world is under lockdown and people are adopting the ‘Work from Home’ culture. In this context, the FBI warned, “Scammers, posing as employers, may ask you to accept a “donation” of funds into your own bank account and to deposit them into a crypto kiosk. The so-called “donation” is likely money stolen from others. Your acceptance and transfer of the stolen money are considered illegal money mule activity and potentially unlicensed money transmission.”

Apart from this, it also warned citizens to stay away from suspicious investment opportunities as these might be potential scams. Fraudsters often portray these investment opportunities as luring, but there are chances of being scammed under the veil of ‘extremely high-return investments’.

The FBI warned that scammers could also blackmail citizens of extracting personal information, ‘inappropriate data’, or even threat to infect them with the novel coronavirus. 

The FBI suspects that scammers could use charity campaigns as a means to steal funds. While there are a number of legitimate charity campaigns set up in order to help those in need amid the COVID fears, the FBI warned citizens to stay away from such campaigns that pressurize to donate only in crypto. 

The FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division has already set up a dedicated unit to combat money-laundering attempts by scammers. It has also issued some directives and urged citizens to follow those in order to be safe from such scams. 

Recently, blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis noted that the number of crypto-related scams and fake emails from scammers have surged over the last month or so. FBI’s latest warning IS also aligned with the same trend. 

 

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