The FBI and the Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs are cautioning northeast Ohio businesses to be on the lookout for Bitcoin ATM scams, sending alert signs to stores that have Bitcoin ATMs. They are requesting the businesses display the signs in a “noticeable place or near the ATM,” according to a Spectrum News report.
The FBI and Department of Consumer Affairs said scammers are posing as utilities, police or government agencies to scare people into sending Bitcoins. Cleveland Police said it has one report of Bitcoin scams, but it’s unclear if scams of these nature were going unreported, according to the news report.
Scammers have called victims pretending to be from the Social Security Administration, claiming the victim’s Social Security number was used in a crime, according to an FBI spokesperson. The scammer will request payment from the victim in order to resolve the situation.
Other instances involved scammers claiming to be part of a police department and that the victim or a relative is on a list to be arrested. The victim is then directed to a Bitcoin ATM to transfer funds to resolve the situation.
“Education and prevention are the best tools to avoid being a victim of a financial scam,” Bryan P. Smith, the FBI special agent in charge of the investigation told the news outlet. “Technology makes the world much smaller and fraudsters can now be anywhere. It is imperative for consumers to verify financial transactions prior to sending money in any form, including virtual currency,” he said.