KENTUCKY, USA — Federal officials are warning consumers that scammers are now asking people to pay with cryptocurrency and then using QR codes to steal their money and personal information.
The Federal Trade Commission said a scammer will call and say they work for the government, law enforcement, a local utility company, or even say you've won the lottery or a prize.
If you stay on the phone long enough, they'll ask you for money and request you go to a store with a cryptocurrency ATM. Once you're there, they'll tell you to put money into the ATM and buy cryptocurrency.
The FTC said the scammers will then send you a QR code with their address embedded in it. Once you scan the code, the cryptocurrency gets transferred to them and your money is gone.
"Nobody from the government, law enforcement, utility company, or prize promoter will ever tell you to pay them with cryptocurrency," the FTC said.
They warned consumers that any unexpected tweet, email, call or social media message -- especially from people you don't know -- asking you to pay them in advance for something, is a scam. "Every time," the agency said.
If you see or hear something on the internet or in social media and you're not sure about it, let us know and we'll VERIFY it for you.