Delaware State Police warn of new cryptocurrency scams

Delaware State Police are warning the public of an increase in scams involving the use of cryptocurrency.

Officials are reporting an increase in scams involving the use of cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) ATM machines and quick response (or “QR”) codes targeting Delawareans.

The victims are directed to local crypto ATMs and/or stores that authorize QR crypto payments. Criminal perpetrators will leverage victims to send money in these forms during schemes that include government impersonation (DEA, ATF, Sheriff’s office, police agencies), computer spyware (computer takeovers, fraudulent security alerts), and romance scams (creating a false sense of intimacy).

Scammers may maintain lengthy contact with the victim through online or telephone communication methods, all in an attempt to rob them of their money through the physical deposit of cash at a crypto ATM machine.

“Whatever their route is, whatever their scheme is, they say the only way that we can process this claim, or get your cousin out of jail, is if you send us cryptocurrency and you do that by going to a crypto ATM which looks an operates just like a normal ATM, and you send cryptocurrency to us and your situation will be resolved,” explained Cpl. Leonard DeMalto with Delaware State Police.

Given the nature of cryptocurrency, the successful recovery of lost funds can be extremely challenging. Unlike traditional wire or bank transfers, crypto transfers are instantaneous, and once the suspect receives the funds they are typically moved immediately to other accounts that are often based outside of the country.

“The amount of money that some people have lost can be as low as $20 and it can go all the way up to $20,000 and beyond,” Cpl. DeMalto stated. “Never send any crypto payment to someone you’ve never met, remember no legitimate business or agency, police agency, will ever request that you make a crypto payment to conduct any sort of transaction.”

Do not engage unknown callers who claim that you are in trouble or threaten you or a family member with arrest, exposure, or embarrassment if a crypto payment is not made immediately. If you receive such a call, you’re encouraged to report to the FBI at www.ic3.gov.

 

Categories: Delaware, Local News