A recent City of West Hollywood press release warns community cryptocurrency fraud and scams and lists tips to protect themselves. Cryptocurrency is digital currency acquired through an app on a phone, a website, or at a cryptocurrency Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Bitcoin and Ether are some of the most well-known cryptocurrencies, but there are many others. Scammers may use cryptocurrencies because they do not have the same legal protections as credit cards or debit cards, and payments usually cannot be reversed.
Here are some tips to avoid cryptocurrency scams:
- Only scammers demand payment in cryptocurrency. No legitimate business or government agency will demand any type of payment with cryptocurrency; that is a scam.
- Never pay a fee to get a job. If someone asks for upfront payment to secure a job with cryptocurrency or any other type of payment; that is a scam.
- Never mix cryptocurrency and online dating. If a potential online date asks for cryptocurrency or wants to “help” invest in crypto; that is a scam.
- Do research on companies and organizations before investing or sending money to avoid falling victim to an illegitimate company or website. When companies or websites (fake or not) have look- or sound-alike names to well-known organizations, the potential confusion created for consumers is real. Attempting to take advantage of such confusion is a tactic employed by bad actors looking to profit from unsuspecting consumers.
For community members who believe they have been a victim of a scam or fraud, or hear about a scam that is currently not listed on the Scam Tracker, please notify the DFPI immediately by filing a complaint with the DFPI online at https://dfpi.ca.gov/submit-a-complaint or by calling toll-free: (866) 275-2677.
For more information, please contact Anita Shandi, the City of West Hollywood’s Public Safety Manager at (323) 848-6446 or at [email protected].