On Wednesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned U.S. residents to watch out for scammers impersonating cryptocurrency exchange technicians, according to a press release.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) told citizens to be alert regarding tech support fraud. The center defines it as a situation which ” involves a criminal claiming to provide customer, security, or technical support in an effort to defraud unwitting individuals.”
The IC3 explains that this type of scheme has increased a lot over the recent years.
“In 2017, the IC3 received approximately 11,000 complaints related to tech support fraud. The claimed losses amounted to nearly $15 million, which represented an 86% increase in losses from 2016,” according to the document.
The tech support fraud started targeting cryptocurrency investors recently.
“Virtual currency is increasingly targeted by tech support criminals, with individual victim losses often in the thousands of dollars,” according to the release.
Here is how it works.
Scammers impersonate tech support agents and claim they work for cryptocurrency exchange. When victims reach them by finding them on search engines or social media, fraudster tells the individual that he needs to access its cryptocurrency wallet for security concerns, according to the filing.
Then, “the scammer transfers the victim’s virtual currency to another wallet for temporary holding during maintenance.”
Once the criminal has access to the wallet, he will then use the victim’s personal information to send the victim’s cryptocurrency to its bank account, as stated in the filing.