Cryptocurrency Job Scams

Cryptocurrency job scams begin when scammers, masquerading as employees of legitimate companies, recruit victims for work-from-home, online-only positions. When a victim expresses interest, the scammer provides online training. Once trained, the victim will begin to perform a series of tasks to receive a salary and commission.

These tasks vary from scheme to scheme—but they all require the victim to deposit their own money, via cryptocurrency or money transfers, into a platform for the job to be completed. 

In the beginning, victims believe they're making a profit since it's common to allow victims to withdraw earnings. Over time, victims must deposit larger amounts of money to complete their tasks. This does not appear concerning, because up until now, victims have been able to withdraw their money each round and have been informed by the scammer that larger deposits mean larger commissions.

At a certain point, however, victims are met with a new and extremely large deposit requirement. Crucially, this requirement comes when the victims have already deposited a significant sum into the platform and haven't been able to withdraw that money. As a result, the victims do not have the money to fulfill this requirement and their account is frozen. In the end, the scammers steal any money in the victim’s account.  

If you believe you may have been victimized, stop sending money to the scammers, and file a report at FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.

Cryptocurrency job scams begin when scammers, masquerading as employees of legitimate companies, recruit victims for work-from-home, online-only positions.

The Process 

1. The Selection of the Victim

Scammers use a variety of methods to initially lure and contact victims. Here are some of the most common methods: 

  • Social Media: Scammers use social media to post part-time job opportunities in various messaging boards and groups. They often contain a contact number for WhatsApp, Telegram, or another messaging application for the victim to make an initial inquiry.

  • Texting: Scammers text victims and state that they work for a reputable company. The scammers ask whether the person is interested in a part-time job position. Then they ask the victim to switch to a private messaging application, like WhatsApp or Telegram, to learn more. 

2. Explanation of the Job

Once the victim expresses interest, they will receive information regarding the position. The entire scam, from recruitment to conclusion, is done online. Generally, scammers will pose as employees of legitimate companies to broaden their appeal. Although the companies’ names and reasons for the job vary, most cryptocurrency job scams involve a job meant to bolster the reputation or efficiency of a company through routine, often click-based tasks performed by the victim using a computer or cell phone. Generally, these tasks are performed via a website provided by the scammer, which the victim must be invited to for initial access.

Common Characteristics of Cryptocurrency Job Scams:

  • Criminals: 
    • Pose as employees of well-known companies.
    • Don’t ask for professional references.
    • Require you to deposit your own cryptocurrency or money transfers to perform work.
    • Claim that the more money you deposit, the larger the commission you'll make. 
    • Claim that the more tasks you perform, the more money you make.
    • Require you to check-in with a "customer service" group for each set of tasks.
    • Require you to withdraw proceeds after each round of tasks.
    • Offer bonuses randomly during the process, sometimes simply for registering your account.
    • Warn you not to tell exchanges or banks about what you’re doing.
    • Accept various cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Tether, or Ethereum; also accept money payments.
    • Only pay your salary if you perform the work almost—if not every day.
    • Promise that when a negative balance shows up, you'll receive a much larger commission. 
    • Encourage you to take out loans to cover the large negative balance or ask family or friends for help.
    • Claim that the issuance of this task that resulted in a large negative balance is "random," or that customer service has no control over it.
    • Threaten that unless a minimum amount is deposited each day while the account is frozen, the account will never be able to be unlocked. 

What is the FBI doing about this type of fraud? 

The FBI is investigating fraudulent cryptocurrency job scams. The FBI may attempt to contact you via email and phone call to provide crucial information regarding this matter if you have been identified as a potential victim of a cryptocurrency job scam. Should you not answer, we will leave a voicemail and provide instructions on how to verify our identity.

The FBI will never ask for money, move communications to private messaging apps, or request bank account details or personal identifying information.


What do you do if you're a victim? 

If you believe that you or someone you know may be a victim of a cryptocurrency job scam, stop sending any money to the suspected criminals and submit a report to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or contact your local FBI field office.

Please do not notify the suspected criminals of the FBI’s presence—it may compromise our ability to investigate.

Be wary of anyone claiming they can recover your funds as this may be another scam. For more information, see the following PSA from August 11, 2023, Alert Number 08112023

Information to Report to the FBI

When submitting a report to www.ic3.gov, if possible, include the following: 

  • Information regarding how the individual initially contacted you and how they identified themselves. Include identifying information such as name, phone number, street address, email address, and username.
  • Financial transaction details, which include cryptocurrency addresses, amount and type of cryptocurrency, date and time, and transaction IDs (hash). 

Financial Transaction Details
The most important information you can provide in your report are transaction details. These unique identifiers vary in length and look like long strings of random letters and numbers.

Below are examples of important transaction details. If you are unsure whether the transaction information you have is relevant, please include it.

  • Transaction Detail: Cryptocurrency Addresses
    • Example: 0x58566904f57eac4E9EDd81BbC2f877865ECd35985 
  • Transaction Detail: Amount and Cryptocurrency Type
    • Example: 1.02345 ether
  • Transaction Detail: Dates/Times
    • Example: 1 January 2023, 12:01 AM EST
  • Transaction Detail: Transaction ID (hash)
    • Example: 0xfa485de419011ceefdd3cd00a4ff64e52bf9a0dfa528e4fff8bb4c9c 

What if I do not have transaction information?
If you do not have transaction information, please still submit a report to www.ic3.gov and provide as much information as you have. 

What other information should I provide?
Provide any other information you may have about the scam, to include: 

  • Where and how you first encountered the scammer. 
  • Your communications with the scammer (for example, emails or texts) and associated identifiers such as names, email addresses, and phone numbers. 
  • Any domain names, website addresses, or applications the scammer instructed you to use. 
  • Any two-factor authentication or "one time passcode" information. 
  • Any cryptocurrency exchanges you used to send or receive funds. 
  • The timeline of the scam. 

Tips for Avoiding Cryptocurrency Job Scams  

The FBI has identified potential ways individuals can recognize and deter this activity: 

  • Verify the validity of any offer of employment from strangers or online posts. Remember, no legitimate job opportunity requires you to deposit your own money to perform tasks!
  • Be on the lookout for domain names that impersonate legitimate companies.
  • Misspelled URLs, often with a slight deviation from the actual financial institutions' website, may be fake.
  • Don't download or use suspicious looking apps as a tool for investing unless you can verify the legitimacy of the app.
  • If a job opportunity seems too good to be true, it likely is. Be cautious of get rich quick schemes.
  • If an unknown individual contacts you, do not release any financial or personal identifying information (PII) and do not send any money.
  • Don't accept work from home jobs from someone who randomly reaches out via text message or through social media.
  • If you already invested funds and believe you are a victim of a scheme, do not pay any additional fees or taxes to withdraw your money.
  • Don't pay for services that claim to be able to recover lost funds.