November 30, 2021

Beware of these two new Bitcoin/Cryptocurrency scams trending on social media that are affecting unsuspecting consumers. 

1) Money flipping

This scam seems to happen one of two ways:

The first is where the victim will see a post on their social media news feed about an opportunity to make lots of money investing in bitcoin or cryptocurrency. In the posts, the scammers use the terms like "Money flipping" or "investment with a 24-hour return" to get people's attention.  Most people will be suspicious initially and will want to look at the scammer's social media profile before proceeding.  When they pull up the scammer's page they will see lots of posts and pictures, mostly of the scammer enjoying a lavish lifestyle or talking about how profitable the investment is.

But … the real lure is that the scammer will have tons of [fake] comments on their investment posts from “past Investors” posting comments like "thank you so much, this worked for me" "I appreciate the opportunity, I’ve made lots of money with this." This will give the victim a false sense of security.  They will see the comments from other investors and think “Well this worked for them, it can work for me too” and that’s the hook. This is when the victim usually reaches out to the scammer (typically via DM/direct message or sometimes through an email address the scammer listed on their account) to inquire further about the investment.

If they do this, the scammer will speak to them about how lucrative the investment opportunity is and how they should act fast.  Then the scammer will send them a link to set up their “bitcoin account” but the link is actually malware and once it is clicked on, the scammer will have access to their victim’s social media account and anything that is linked to it (Venmo, debit card, email address…etc).

The second way this scam works is victims are contacted directly via DM by a scammer offering them access to this investment opportunity.  Scammers target individuals who follow banks, credit unions, or other financial institutions or investment companies. From that point on, if the victim is interested the scam will progress in the same way: Scammer sends victim malicious link > victim clicks it > scammer has access to victim's information.

2) Hostage-Style Scam

In this scam hackers/scammers force Instagram users to film hostage-style videos instructing their followers to participate in fraudulent get-rich-quick Bitcoin schemes.

How it works: A victim will see a post or story on Instagram about making money with bitcoin.  A link is included in said posts and/or stories. The link is Malware. Once the link is clicked, the hacker can take over the victim’s account and the victim will no longer have access.

Then, the hacker will reach out to the victim and tell them to make a video promoting the Bitcoin mining scam in exchange for their account access/money to be returned. Once the victim makes the video, however, the hacker will not give the account back. Instead the hacker posts the video to all of the victim's friends and family to lure more people in.

The videos will sound something like this:

“I can’t believe bitcoin mining is real, there is no cap, you all should go give it a try. You should go and invest in bitcoin mining it [is 100%] safe and secure.”

In addition to the hacker gaining full access to the victim's social media, they will also have access to anything that is linked to it, such as Venmo, debit card, email address, etc.  and be able to commit fraud through those channels as well.

How to protect yourself from falling victim to these scams:

  • Be wary of anything on social media that promises an immediate financial gain without much effort, especially anything that involves Bitcoin or cryptocurrency
  • Only send money to people you know after verifying that the request is legitimate
  • For most legitimate requests, there’s time to think and ask questions—be especially wary if the request is urgent 
  • Take time to verify sellers online with a proven track record
  • Don’t wire transfer or send funds to a stranger
  • Never provide your banking information to anyone

If your information may already have been compromised, contact your financial institution right away.