The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued a public announcement warning Americans residing overseas or travelling abroad about a fraudulent crypto job advertisement.
On May 22, 2023, the FBI alerted individuals to deceptive employment ads linked to labour trafficking in Southeast Asia. According to the FBI, victims have been coerced into participating in fraudulent Bitcoin investment schemes on an international scale via advertisement claims.
The FBI alert revealed that victims are offered various employment opportunities, such as tech support, contact center customer service, and beauty salon technicians. However, upon arrival in a foreign country, these individuals are manipulated or forced into engaging in Bitcoin investment scams.
The FBI also encouraged victims of these scams to come forward and report such incidents through an internet portal.
In recent years, the FBI has actively investigated numerous cases related to Bitcoin fraud and incidents involving cryptocurrencies. On May 1, 2023, the FBI’s Detroit Field Office collaborated with the Ukrainian National Police in a coordinated operation authorized by the court. This joint effort resulted in the seizure and shutdown of nine domains belonging to virtual currency exchange firms.
Some of the seized domains include 24xbtc.com, 100btc.pro, pridechange.com, trust-exchange.org, and bitcoin24.exchange. Hackers allegedly used these domains for illicit activities.
In a separate development, the Philippine National Police rescued 1,090 individuals smuggled into the country from various Asian nations and coerced into participating in fraudulent cryptocurrency investments. At least 12 members of the Colorful and Leap Group were arrested for links to the crime.
Across Southeast Asia, victims of cryptocurrency scams are often enticed with promises of complimentary travel, accommodations, and online employment. However, upon arrival, their passports are confiscated, and they are subjected to grueling work schedules of up to 18 hours a day, with deductions made from their wages for breaks.
CertiK recently released a report that revealed that a staggering $103.7 million was lost in April 2023. This amount accounted for half of the total cryptocurrency losses incurred in 2023 thus far. The report emphasized the alarming prevalence of exploits and scams within the cryptocurrency space and highlighted the urgent need for enhanced security measures and user vigilance.
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