The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is warning the public that bad actors are using Bitcoin (BTC) ATMs and QR codes to defraud unsuspecting victims.
In a public service announcement, the agency says that it is seeing increased incidents of scammers telling their victims to deposit money to a cryptocurrency ATM using a QR code associated with a digital wallet.
The FBI says that these bad actors solicit money from their victims through various fraudulent schemes such as online impersonation schemes, romance schemes and lottery schemes.
“The scammer then directs the victim to a physical cryptocurrency ATM to insert their money, purchase cryptocurrency, and use the provided QR code to auto-populate the recipient address. Often the scammer is in constant online communication with the victim and provides step-by-step instructions until the payment is completed.”
The agency says that the decentralized nature of crypto assets makes it difficult to recover the victims’ money, with much of the stolen funds being sent overseas right away instead of being tracked and verified by a bank.
*“This differs from traditional bank transfers or wires where a payment transaction can remain pending for one to two days before settlement. It can also make law enforcement’s recovery of the funds difficult and can leave many victims with a financial loss.”