Scammers are increasingly asking victims to pay with Bitcoin, the Federal Trade Commission said today in a consumer alert.
“At first, scammers tried to get (victims) to wire them money. Then they demanded payments with gift cards. Now, scammers are luring people into paying them with Bitcoin,” the FTC noted in the warning.
The government watchdog described three types of frauds where scammers are demanding Bitcoin from victims:
With blackmail, a fraudster demands Bitcoin from a target to keep quiet about an affair or another type of embarrassment.
The scammer might use threats, intimidation, and high-pressure tactics to get the prey to pay immediately.
“That’s not only a scam, but also a criminal extortion attempt,” said the FTC.
The agency urged targets of an attempted blackmail to report it to the local police, the FBI, and the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
Online Chain Referral Schemes
The consumer alert notes this is an updated version of the age-old chain letter scam.
“But, in a twist, these scammers say you have to use cryptocurrency to pay for the right to recruit other people into the chain…so that you’ll then be rewarded with more cryptocurrency. Except you won’t. Instead, you’re guaranteed to lose money,” the FTC told the public.
Bogus Investment and Business Opportunities
Basically, what the FTC is saying “if it sounds too good to be true,” applies no matter what bogus investment hawkers are seeking in payment: Bitcoin or dollars.
“Remember, only a scammer will guarantee that you will make money,” the agency cautioned.
To see the alert, click on: