FRAUD AND SCAMS

This is a small guide to prevent fraud and scams

Called by the Public Administration

1. The scammers will claim to be the Pubblic Amministration and, in an attempt to gain their trust, provide personal information about the target.

2. The scammers will state the target owes a large sum of money in taxes to the Pubblic Amministration.

3. The criminals will claim that, should the target fail to immediately pay their taxes through the bitcoin ATM, they will be sent to jail.

4. The scammers will do everything they can to keep the target on the phone in order to pressure them into making the transaction.

5. Demographic of targets: The elderly, recent immigrants, the young (students with little knowledge of legal systems), and workers who receive payment under the table.

Once the scammers have convinced their target that they owe money to the government, a QR code will be sent to the target via SMS or email. This QR code is the scammers’ Bitcoin wallet address, to which the bitcoins will be sent. Once the QR code is scanned by the ATM, the target will be told to deposit their cash into the  machine, to convert it to bitcoins.

After completing the transaction, the bitcoins will be sent to the scammers’ Bitcoin wallet address. Once the bitcoins have left an ATM, it is impossible to recover the funds; Bitcoin transactions are anonymous, irreversible, and virtually untraceable.

The transaction can be viewed on the blockchain, the decentralized, public record of all Bitcoin transactions. However, it is impossible to act on this information alone since transactions are not linked to identities, but to anonymous addresses.  

This scammers use emotion and stress to cloud the judgement of their targets. The scammers will do everything in their power to keep the target on the phone, for as long as possible, to ensure they do not try to contact help. By pressuring the target into acting immediately, the scammers often get results quickly, before the police can become involved.  

The Public Amministration will never ask for payment in bitcoins. Should the caller demand payment in bitcoins,hang up immediately then contact the authorities. If you are unsure, tell the scammers on the phone you will call them back when you have some time. Do not provide the callers with any personal information.

Called by Police

1. They will convince the target that they are indeed the Police.

2. The scammers will claim to have one of the target’s loved ones in custody.

3. The criminals will explain that the only way for the family/friend to be released is if the target transfers a set amount of bitcoin to the QR Bitcoin address provided.

4. Demographic of targets: The elderly, recent immigrants, the young (students with little knowledge of legal systems), and workers who receive payment under the table.

Scammers use technology to mask their actual phone number; the caller ID will often show a legitimate Police phone number. The scammers will attempt to scare their target into paying the “police” a large sum of bitcoins in order to have their loved one “freed”.

Once the scammers have convinced their target to pay for the release of said loved one, the scammers will send their Bitcoin wallet address in the form of a QR code. The QR code will be sent to the target via SMS or email. When the QR code is scanned by the ATM, the target will be told to deposit their cash into the machine, to convert it to bitcoins. Once the bitcoins have been sent to the QR address the transaction cannot be stopped or reversed. At this point, the scammers will often make additional excuses or reasons as to why the target must send additional funds to the QR address.

Absolutely no part of the government (including the Police) requests payment of bail (or similar) in the form of bitcoins.

If you suspect that the individual with whom you are speaking is not a legitimate police officer, be sure to ask for their name and badge number. Hang up the phone, then contact the police to confirm the validity of the caller’s identity.

In some instances, the scammers will have a very sophisticated network, and may even provide the information of a real police officer. Under no circumstance should you provide the caller with any personal information. Inform the scammer that you will cooperate with the authorities by providing the requested information, in-person, at a police station.

Job/Employment Scam

1. The job/employment scam takes advantage of those who are seeking work.

2. Individuals are offered a job without needing to have an in-person meeting with the employer. The target is asked to receive money from an unknowingly-compromised bank account.

3. They are then asked to withdraw cash in order to purchase bitcoins.These bitcoins are, in turn, sent to the wallet address of the scammer.

4. Demographic of targets: The elderly, recent immigrants, the young (students with little knowledge of legal systems), and workers who receive payment under the table

The scammer will contact a job seeker through an email, or phone call, and offer them a job. If the job seeker believes that this job offer is legitimate, they will accept their offer and follow the scammers’ subsequent instructions.

The instructions will involve funnelling money from a compromised bank account controlled by the scammer, into the target’s bank account; this is done via Interac e-Transfer. The target will then be instructed to withdraw most of the transferred money, with the difference being the target’s compensation. The target is then requested to use the withdrawn money to purchase bitcoins at a Bitcoin ATM, and send them to the scammer’s wallet address. When the compromised bank account’s holder discovers money missing, they will report it to their local authorities, who will ask the bank to reverse the transaction. After the transaction is reversed, the target will be left at a loss, having already withdrawn the money sent to them.

The majority of jobs will require a physical presence for an interview. Always be skeptical when being offered a job. Be particularly cautious of any jobs that claim to be ‘remote’ or ‘work-from-home’. Be wary of any job offers made on-the-spot, through an email or a phone call, and without an interview. It is also very important that you never accept money transfers from anyone you do not know. Most certainly, the chances are that the funds are coming from a compromised bank account. A job will also most certainly never involve conducting business out of a target’s personal bank account. Any job that is easy to obtain, with easy pay, is most likely too good to be true. It is always good to have a healthy dose of skepticism.