The coronavirus pandemic tends to bring out the best of so many people as individuals, governments, and companies come together to fight COVID-19. And there are the cybercriminals taking advantage of paranoia and the need for information to spread malware and defraud victims.
As cybercriminals continue to exploit the COVID 19 pandemic, the FBI is advising that people be alerted to a spike in COVID-19 related cryptocurrency fraud schemes. The widespread acceptance of cryptocurrency by business and its growing popularity have contributed to the spike in crypto scams. In a warning published on its website said :
“Fraudsters are leveraging increased fear and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money and launder it through the complex cryptocurrency ecosystem”
According to the FBI, people should be watchful about cryptocurrency fraud schemes such as blackmail attempts, work from home, paying for non-existent treatments or equipment, investment scams.
With the current COVID-19 situation, traditional methods of blackmail are coming with a twist. The scammer may threaten you to release your personal information or secrets and infect you and/or your family with coronavirus unless payment is sent to the Bitcoin wallet.
The FBI warns about the Money Mule Scheme in work from home scams, where criminals trick their victims into illicit money laundering by asking them to send donations or receive money on behalf of someone who pretends to be in need.
Scammers may try to sell online products claiming to prevent COVID-19 and accept payment in cryptocurrencies for products that do not actually exist. Many of the COVID-19 scams are attempts by corporations and individuals to sell goods that they say to prevent or cure the novel coronavirus that has already killed more than 100,00 people all over the world.
To Stop Scams Involving Cryptocurrency
The FBI advises
- Verify that a vendor/charity is legitimate and accepts cryptocurrency before sending payments/donations.
- Conduct extensive research on potential investment opportunities.
- Do not use your personal bank accounts for work-from-home business-related activity or provide your bank account information to someone who is not named on the account.
- Contact law enforcement before paying out blackmail and/or extortion attempts and before converting your money into cryptocurrency to pay them.
Since the end of February, phishing emails have increased by more than 600 percent as cybercriminals try to capitalize on the fear and confusion caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to reports.
The confusion, diversion and, weakness that results from crises spells space for criminals. Epidemic coronavirus is no exception. When some of you are at home, practicing social distance and regular hand washing to stop the coronavirus, note that scammers are always busy trying to trick people.
It is the duty of the person to protect themselves and their loved ones from being scammed by staying alert and contact the law enforcement immediately if you think you have been a victim of a coronavirus scam.