Cryptocurrency ATMs are emerging as the preferred way for scammers to defraud victims and retail consumers, according to a report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Talking about “pig butchering scams”, the FBI’s Miami Field Office said that regulators and consumers need to be aware of how ATMs can become anonymous drop-off points where consumers leave money for the scammers.
This may seem bizarre, but the term “pig butchering” relies not so much on technological prowess as it does on making a partner emotionally dependent on someone even if they have not met them in person.
The FBI said that people who fall for pig butchering cryptocurrency scams also did not have any chance of getting their funds back, as fraudsters are good at obfuscating their tracks.
While in the past fraudsters would seek to extract money through direct transfers, ATMs have become their go-to option of late.
“The use of cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency ATMs is also an emerging method of payment. Individual losses related to these schemes ranged from tens of thousands to millions of dollars”, the FBI wrote.
Often, the victims of such scams are coached through the scam and encouraged to place a series of small deposits.
When a victim wishes to withdraw their funds, they are told that they need to contribute additional fees to release them, at which point scammers choose to disappear completely. ATMs have been used for various fraud-related scams.
Fake officials and criminals posing as the authorities have convinced unwitting victims to pay fines or face civil or criminal penalties.
The US Federal Trade Commission already issued a warning earlier this year and urged consumers to be wary of crypto ATMs.
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