Scams may also come in more traditional methods like blackmail, but with a “twist:” the scammer threatens to “infect you and/or your family with coronavirus unless payment is sent to a Bitcoin wallet.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned Monday that fraudsters are about to unleash a surge of coronavirus cryptocurrency scams.
FBI Director: Cryptocurrency Is ‘Significant Issue’ for Law Enforcement
Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray says cryptocurrency is a “significant issue” that is likely to become a “bigger and bigger” problem for the law enforcement agency.
Speaking in front of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday, Wray responded to questions from U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) about cryptocurrency, law enforcement and terrorist deterrence, saying:
“We are looking at it from an investigative perspective, including tools that we have to follow the money even in this new world that we’re living in.”
Wray supported Romney’s line of questioning concerning terrorist financing, saying that U.S. adversaries are becoming “more facile with technology and particular various types of technology that anonymize their efforts.”
It’s not just crypto, however. Wray noted encryption is touching every aspect of emerging tech such as instant communications:
“Whether its cryptocurrency, whether it’s default encryption on devices and messaging platforms; we are moving as a country and world in a direction where if we don’t get our act together money, people, communication, evidence, facts, all the bread and butter for all of us to do our work will be essentially walled off from the men and women we represent.”
In 2018, the FBI said it had an estimated 130 cases involving crypto under investigation, from human trafficking to ransomware. And, this May, the FBI shut down DeepDotWeb, a dark web market place which solicited some services in cryptocurrency.