Cryptocurrencies are quite popular with many people including scammers who find the anonymity provided by cryptocurrencies as a tremendously helpful way to launder funds obtained through a variety of scams.  Recently the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a warning about a new cryptocurrency related scam that begins when you are contacted by a scammer posing as either a government official, a law enforcement officer or some legitimate company demanding payment under some guise.  However, rather than ask you to send a check, credit card, gift card or wire funds, you are instructed to withdraw cash from your bank account and then go to a cryptocurrency ATM, purchase cryptocurrency and the using a QR code provided by the scammer, send the funds to the scammer.

The Quick Response (QR) code is a two dimensional barcode that can be scanned and read by your cellphone.  They have been around since 1994 and like a link that you click on,  they can take you to a website or some other source of information quickly and easily.  Advertisers were fond of QR codes because they were easier for consumers to scan then type in a long URL. QR codes can be used, as in this scam, to send funds to the cryptocurrency wallet of the scammer.

TIPS

This is an easy scam to avoid, as Cristina Miranda of the FTC has said, “Here the main thing to know: nobody from the government, law enforcement, utility company or prize promoter will ever tell you to pay them with cryptocurrency.  If someone does, it’s a scam every time.”

For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”  Scamicide was cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.

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