While not as popular as prior to the meltdown of various cryptocurrency exchanges such as FTX, cryptocurrencies remain 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. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning people about a 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. QR codes can be used, as in this scam, to send funds to someone’s cryptocurrency wallet.
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.”
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