Sometimes you can spot a scam based on how you are prompted to pay for something – say, lottery winnings or a past due utility bill. What once was the domain of wire transfers and gift cards is fast becoming flooded with cryptocurrency as a form of payment in scams. (No form of payment ever really goes out of style, but criminals jump on new ways of stealing money at every opportunity.)
Most of us don’t understand cryptocurrency, and may not care to, and that might make us feel protected. However, buying cryptocurrency might be as close as your local grocery store. Many retail locations are adding machines that allow customers to buy and send cryptocurrency with a debit or credit card. This means that, once a criminal has their target convinced of a threat or opportunity – something they call getting them “under the ether” – they simply can send their victim to the nearest crypto machine to get paid.
Rapidly changing financial technology makes it hard to stay up to speed on the latest threats. But it isn’t hard to stay up on the latest scams making use of them – sign up for biweekly Watchdog Alerts from AARP at aarp.org/watchdogalerts, or text FWN to 50757.
Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.
Report scams to local law enforcement. For help from AARP, call 1-877-908-3360 or visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork