The victim believes they are in a relationship (family, friendly, or romantic) and are tricked into sending money, personal and financial information, or items of value to the scammer or to launder money or items to assist the scammer.
Common things romance scammers will tell their victims: Asking victim to pay for a plane ticket or other travel expenses for the scammer Asking victim to pay for someone else’s surgery or medical expenses Asking victim to pay off scammer’s debt
Example: A scammer has asked a customer at your BTM to send virtual currency so the scammer may visit the customer, who believes they have a romantic relationship with the scammer. Often after the customer has sent the scammer the virtual currency the customer never hears from the scammer again.
Phishing Email and Websites
Phishing emails are used as tools to carry out fraudulent activities, attempting to steal and misuse personal information from an individual. These emails may appear to be from a trustworthy source, sometimes even from what seems like a legitimate business or bank. What to look out for: A victim has received unsolicited email or social media message which is asking them to pay for something or asking for private information. A victim has been contacted by an “employer” who communicated with a web-based service such as Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail. A victim clicked on an attachment from a website demanding urgent action. Example: A customer at your BTM received an email from their “bank” notifying them that their bank account had been hacked. The customer is then urged to contact the “bank” immediately, to which they ask the customer to provide their personal information to verify their identity.
Impersonation scams happen when a fraudster poses as an individual or business gaining the trust of their victim. A common impersonation scam is a government impersonation scam. This is when a victim receives a call, email, or text message from someone claiming to work for a government agency like the Social Security Administration, the IRS, or the Center for Medicare Services. The scammer might give an employee ID number to sound official or offer other information about the victim like their name or home address. Scammers will convince victims that they need money or the victim’s personal information immediately. What to look out for: Demanding payment from victims or threatening their arrest through calls or emails Asking the victim to use large sums of their own money to help catch a criminal. Contacting the victim about frozen Social Security numbers or coordinating inheritances. Example: A customer uses the BTM to send money to the government impersonator under the impersonator’s false threat of legal action against the customer.
Bitcoin Exchange Scams
Bitcoin Exchange Scams involve self-professed “experts” who create fake Bitcoin exchanges. They commonly attract users to their fraudulent platforms by offering better exchange rates. Often times a website is created, mimicking an existing service, tricking their victim into creating an account, with a promise to provide even better offers than other sites. The scammers then use the victims log in information to log onto the real website stealing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies belonging to the victim. What to look out for: Scammers advertising “the best” exchange rates than other markets. Your customer did no research in the exchange they were interested in before transferring funds A customer tells you they spoke with an investor who offered them a promotion they just couldn’t refuse, and they wanted to buy their first BTC and sell it for a profit. A customer was offered a bonus for depositing a large amount into a wallet they were provided. Example: In December 2017, a fake exchange, known as BitKRX, posed as a legitimate exchange by passing itself off as a branch of KRX (a large and reputable trading platform). They were able to ensnare innocent users and steal their BTC.
Blackmail scam is an act of coercion using threats by sending a message claiming to have obtained sensitive information from their victim, most commonly by hacking a computer and controlling it with a remote desktop protocol. What to look out for: The customer appears to be in destress and tell you they need to conduct this transaction immediately The victim is sending currency to a person claiming to have their personal information The customer was instructed to send currency to a person whom they received a concerning email from Example: Your customer informs you someone hacked into their computer and recorded them visiting an adult website. They were provided a wallet address to use and instructed to pay in bitcoin or the footage would be leaked to family members.
Inheritance scams use ploys about a deceased person leaving their estate to the intended victim of the scam. The scam usually begins with an email or letter telling the victim that some distant relative the victim has never heard of recently died, and sender is searching for relatives to receive the inheritance. What to look out for: Spelling mistakes in the letter the victim received. The size of the inheritance does not make economic sense. The scammer requesting information and money from the victim. Example: Your customer uses your company’s BTM to send virtual currency to the scammer because they are under the false belief that once they send the virtual currency, they will receive a large sum of money (their inheritance).
Sometimes referred to as ‘Ponzi schemes,’ investment scams promise high financial returns or dividends not available through traditional investments. Instead of investing victims’ funds, investment scammers pay ‘dividends’ to initial investors using the funds of subsequent investors. What to look out for: Any investment opportunity that makes exaggerated earnings claims. Customer investing with no previous investing experience or without consulting an unbiased third party Example: A customer may be using your BTM to ‘invest’ by sending their virtual currency either directly to themselves and then to the scammer, or to the scammer directly. Typically, the customer will receive dividends from subsequent investors’ money trickled down to the customer. However, this is an illegal practice and the customer not likely to recover their initial investment.