Impostors get victims to set up cryptocurrency exchange accounts. They will deposit your funds onto a cryptocurrency exchange, trade the funds to cryptocurrency and then withdraw it to their cryptocurrency wallet.
Cryptocurrency transactions are irreversible. Once a transaction leaves your account, funds cannot be recovered.
The scam often begins with an unsolicited phone call or email from someone impersonating an employee from a legitimate business. Other victims report using a search engine to find the company’s phone number in order to locate customer support. In either case, you’ll be connected with an impostor from a business you would ordinarily trust like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, etc. They will claim that you have a refund for an item that was returned. The specifics of what is required will vary, however the impostor will always attempt to convince you that you will need to make a payment.
Their goal is to force you into making hasty decisions and to get you to comply with their instructions.
In one common scenario the impostor claims to provide a refund to your account. They then convince you to install remote access software with programs such as AnyDesk or Teamviewer, in order to gain access to your device. Claiming this is the only method to help resolve your issue of sending you the refund.
Never give a third party access to your devices. Software such as Anydesk and Teamviewer allows impostors to take control of your device and access your sensitive information.
Once the impostors gain access, they will instruct you to sign into your online bank. After which they will make it appear too much money was refunded to your bank account and often threaten you if you do not immediately comply with their demands.
With the impostor now having access to your device and bank account, they’ll attempt to withdraw your money. How they get the money from you can range from purchasing gift cards to obtaining cryptocurrency. In one common scenario, the impostor will set up a cryptocurrency exchange account with your stolen information to have a destination for your stolen money. With the account set up, they will withdraw your money from your bank to this new account.
Tips to protect yourself:
- Determine if the call is legitimate. Do not rely on the caller ID, phone numbers can be changed to display anything.
- Navigate to the company’s legitimate website to find their phone number. Don’t use a search engine to find the phone number.
- Hang up immediately on unsolicited calls from businesses that offer “refunds” or which are offering to fix your device.
- Secure access to your devices and refuse to install remote access software like AnyDesk or Teamviewer. This software can grant the impostor complete access to your device and will allow them to steal your sensitive information.
Variations of this type of scam exist. What’s common across these scams, is an impostor claiming to be from a business, gaining access to your device, and setting up an account with a cryptocurrency exchange. It ends with converting your money to cryptocurrency and withdrawing it to the wallet of the impostor. At this point your funds are unrecoverable.
If you need to report an incident or you have fallen victim to this type of scam, reach out to our Support team.
You can also report fraud to a dedicated government organization depending on your location:
United States: https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/
United Kingdom: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/