In brief

  • Scammers are using coronavirus fears to exploit the vulnerable.
  • Officials are warning of the potential for more scams related to crypto.
  • Stay safe out there.

As fears over the coronavirus pandemic spread, so too does the potential for bad actors to take advantage of those fears.

The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic on Wednesday. But already scammers are looking to exploit the public’s vulnerability. Schemes range from selling counterfeit face masks, phony health remedies, and, yes, attempts to steal crypto funds.

Earlier this week, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued a warning that the coronavirus outbreak may be providing criminals with the opportunity swindle investors out of their crypto assets,

“Scammers are sophisticated, opportunistic, and will try many things,” the organization said in a statement. “They are also very likely to target the vulnerable. Beware of investments that appear too good to be true. If you decide to invest in something offering a high return or in a crypto asset, you should be prepared to lose all your money.”

Some of these scams involve fraudsters seeking Bitcoin payments or fake donations to the WHO and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB).

“They claim to be able to provide the recipient with a list of coronavirus infected people in their area,” the NFIB explained to The Guardian. “In order to access this information, the victim needs to click on a link, which leads to a malicious website, or is asked to make a payment in bitcoin.”

Phishing scams are also prevalent. Some victims of these scams have reported receiving email messages from what appear to be legitimate medical associations claiming to have information related to the virus. Often, these emails contain links or attachments that can download malware onto a person’s device or steal their personal data.

It may not come as a shock to most hodlers that crypto scams could be on the rise. Just days ago, the Better Business Bureau warned that scams involving cryptocurrency outnumber most other types of scams there are.