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Adding to the hundreds of Bitcoin scam schemes employed since its inception, a group of ‘spoofers’ is out there defrauding Americans via Bitcoin(BTC)trade in the disguise that they are government officials.
Raising alarm on an epidemic that seems to be spreading fast across the nation, the United States Marshals Service together with the Federal Bureau of Investigation took to Twitter to warn US citizens about the latest Bitcoin scam.
In a tweet, the U.S. Marshals Service stated that “Spoofers using government phone numbers, government employees’ names, demanding payment via bitcoin ATMs.”
According to an alert attached to the tweet and released by the U.S. Marshals Service, the alleged spoofers are targeting people across the country. The alert reveals that defaulters in jury duties and the likes are being asked to deposit cash into Bitcoin ATMs or call out gift card numbers to stay out of jail.
The alert reads:
“During these calls, scammers attempt to collect a fine in lieu of arrest for failing to report for jury duty or other offenses. They then tell victims they can avoid arrest by purchasing a prepaid debit card such as a Green Dot card or gift card and read the card number over the phone to satisfy the fine or by depositing cash into bitcoin ATMs.”
Apparently, the criminals fish out a target and execute their scheme through a phone call. Pretending to be government officials, the impersonators compel unsuspecting individuals to either deposit some amount of cash into Bitcoin ATMs or purchase a gift card and call out the card number.
Of course, no one would pay two thoughts to some unknown number asking them to pay for missing jury duties. This must be the reason the criminals are posing as government officials. The U.S. Marshals’ Service alert shows that these criminals are parading themselves as government officials, using government phone numbers and government employees’ names.
Instead of complying with these hoodlums, the U.S. Marshals Service urges victims to report the calls immediately to their local FBI office. In addition to that, affected individuals are also urged to file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
As a crypto coin with much focus on privacy, certainly more than traditional fiat currencies, Bitcoin is a good place to hide for most criminals. It is more difficult to trace compared to fiat currencies and you do not get to give away your location or bank details. Of course, it is much ‘safer,’ and cybercriminals seem to be exploiting this safe space at will.