Residents in the city of El Paso have fallen target to a crypto scam, where scammers pose as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and request cryptocurrency payments. The FBI has issued a warning to locals, alerting them to this fraudulent scheme in which victims are convinced to transfer digital currencies and other funds.
Deceptive letter raises alarms with a fake FBI seal and signature
On October 6, 2023, a resident of El Paso reported receiving a letter purportedly from the FBI asking for funds to be transferred in digital currencies. The letter, titled “Regarding Your Identity Theft Case,” was designed to appear official, utilizing an outdated FBI Situational Intelligence Report format, complete with an FBI seal and a counterfeit signature of the FBI El Paso Special Agent in Charge, John S. Morales.
Officials from El Paso County have categorized this scam as a “government impersonation scam” aimed at obtaining cryptocurrencies and other funds from unsuspecting victims. They strongly advised residents to scrap any such letter, highlighting that the FBI and other federal agencies do not use letters, calls, or emails to threaten individuals with arrest or demand money.
The deceptive letter makes reference to a suspicious Bank of America account supposedly flagged by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. It also includes an ‘ADR’ confirmation number and instructs the recipient to contact an “investigation officer for further assistance.” An American depositary receipt (ADR) is a certificate issued by a U.S. bank, representing shares in a foreign company for trading on American stock exchanges.
FBI officials confirmed that the agency has never used a logo like the one found in the fraudulent letter. They cautioned residents to exercise caution and refrain from responding to such letters. Although the letter does not explicitly request money, scammers employ it as a ruse to convince victims that a genuine FBI investigation is underway.
FBI warns residents and urges vigilance
El Paso residents are urged to remain attentive and immediately report any suspicious correspondence or attempts at fraud to local law enforcement or the FBI. As this crypto scam preys on the trust in official government institutions, it is essential for individuals to be well-informed and cautious to avoid falling victim to such fraudulent schemes.
Recently, on September 6, 2023, by surging such activity in the realm of cryptocurrency, Australian cryptocurrency exchange Swyftx introduced its groundbreaking “Earn and Learn” platform, aimed at protecting the public from cryptocurrency scams. This innovative effort armed people with the information and skills needed to defend themselves against misleading tokens and pump-and-dump scams.