In October 2020, a group of foreign nationals began harassing older people, including those from the United States, according to court documents.. These individuals made phone calls posing as US law enforcement officials and informing the victims that their identities had been compromised.. The perpetrators used computer programs to make it look like their calls were coming from government agencies.
Having won the trust of the victims, the scammers persuaded people to transfer money to them for safekeeping, promising to return the funds with interest after the arrest of the perpetrators of the fictitious fraud. Having gained access to the victims' money, the attackers transferred them to bank accounts, converting the stolen funds into bitcoins and other crypto assets.
Investigators were able to trace the stolen money and identify the digital wallet used by the criminals. U.S. Attorney's Office Seizes 151 Bitcoins and Other Crypto Assets Obtained from Electronic Communication Fraud. The confiscation procedure was carried out in a civil manner, allowing the government to return the money to the victims while the investigation is ongoing.. Law enforcement agencies continue to study the activities of the organizers of the fraudulent scheme, who are still at large.
The FBI advised people who received such calls from government officials to call the local branch of the government agency themselves and ask to be connected to the official from whom the call may have come.. Fraud victims should file a complaint with their local police department and the FBI's Internet Crime Unit.
Earlier, the FBI reported an increase in cases of theft of money through crypto ATMs.. Cryptocurrency scammers are especially active on social networks and on holidays.