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What’s one of the best ways to spot a scam? Know how scammers tell you to pay. Scammers want you to pay them in ways that are hard to trace and hard to get your money back: like through a gift card, wire transfer, payment app, or cryptocurrency. Here, we’ll focus on that last one — cryptocurrency — and how to avoid cryptocurrency-related scams.

Let’s start at the beginning: cryptocurrency is digital currency you get through an app on your phone, a website, or at a cryptocurrency ATM. Bitcoin and Ether are some of the most well-known, but there are lots of others. Scammers like to use cryptocurrencies because they don’t have the same legal protections as credit or debit cards, and payments usually can’t be reversed.

So, what do scams that involve cryptocurrency typically look like? Scammers may call, pretend to be from a government agency and say you need to pay a fine — using cryptocurrency. Or they may pose as an online love interest who needs you to send money for an expensive medical procedure — using cryptocurrency. Or the scammer may offer you a job, but say you need to pay a fee before you get hired — using, you guessed it, cryptocurrency.

To avoid these and other scams, know that:

  • Only scammers demand payment in cryptocurrency. No legitimate business  or government agency is going to demand you pay with cryptocurrency — not to buy something, pay taxes or fines, and not to “protect” your money. That’s always a scam.
  • Never pay a fee to get a job. If someone asks you to pay upfront for a job — with cryptocurrency or any other type of payment — or says to buy cryptocurrency to get a job, it’s a scam.
  • Never mix cryptocurrency and online dating. If you meet someone through online dating who asks you to send them cryptocurrency or wants to “help” you invest in crypto, that’s a scam.

Spot a cryptocurrency scam? Report it to the FTC:

Only scammers demand payment in cryptocurrency

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

ÑF W Young
August 29, 2023

Yes this has happened to me and now trying to get my funds back has been a nightmare !! It started by someone showing you how to invest online. I reported my case to the FTC here and nobody has tried to help or contact me .

November 03, 2023

In reply to by ÑF W Young

I had same happened to me on Facebook. The scammer was keep asking for fee before he could pay me back my 'profits'. Suddenly, he disappeared. I do have his chat and pictures. I also reported here. I have lost almost 17k hard earned money that I won't be able to recover from him.

Sheldon Morgan
December 11, 2023

In reply to by ÑF W Young

Report the address they gave you to send the bitcoin to the FBI, I ain't saying you gone get it back, but as far as I know it's a try

Garcia Rossanna
August 29, 2023

I payed cripto currency $600 for a deposit for apartment application I never received no receipt and the second was $100 for medical expenses, but I was understanding late that all this was scam

August 31, 2023

I have been told that i will get paid for online job and has to recharge for negative num with cryptocurrency i have lost 19000 in this. i have reported to FTC but nothing yet. Its a trauma for me.

September 18, 2023

In reply to by Jamila

Was it for writing product reviews for commissions and you get “lucky” packages that make your account negative, so you have to put your own money in and you can’t withdraw your money until all 38 tasks are done?

October 26, 2023

In reply to by Glen

Yes, I can relate. But why are these people still in the business until now coz I just recently dealt with them. I was almost at my last task and here comes another lucky bonus, and the funds that you have to put in kept on going up. It's really traumatic. How do we get our money back?

December 18, 2023

In reply to by Glen

Yes I fell into a scam like that and I can’t get sleep at nights since this happened.

September 19, 2023

In reply to by Jamila

I just found out that I have been scam the same way. I am a single mom with limited income because I am disabled. How do I start to try to get my money back? I know that it is probably going to be a nightmare and there is a chance that I will never get my money back. I just need advice on where to start the process to report.

FTC Staff
September 19, 2023

In reply to by Cory

Cryptocurrency payments typically are not reversible. Once you pay with cryptocurrency, you can only get your money back if the person you paid sends it back. But contact the company you used to send the money and tell them it was a fraudulent transaction. Ask them to reverse the transaction, if possible.
Read more about cryptocurrency at Report scams to the FTC at

November 02, 2023

In reply to by Jamila

Hello Jamila,
I'm caught-up in a job opportunity that requires you to make a deposit into the merchant account with crypto (ETH) to received the job task. The first few tasks were completed successfully and went as planned. On the 7th assignment, I made my regular $$ deposit to receive the 30/30 task, began the task only to have the # go negative immediately. The sum to recharge was nearly $2,500. I deposited the $2,500, went to finish the task only to have the # go negative AGAIN, requiring another $4,500 to complete the task. Nearly $9000. I've told them I will not be depositing any more funds and asked them to release my deposits, plus base pay plus recharge bonuses I've already earned. The repeated response I get from my referrer and customer service is pay the $4,500, complete the tasks and I can withdraw my money - "don't worry". Now recently a threat that the merchant will take legal action against me if I do not complete the task. Is this what you experienced?

November 20, 2023

In reply to by Cheri

This happened to me. Online job opportunity to complete 2-3 tasks per day. Started 40/40 tasks and earned some amount after completing tasks. Eager to know and earn more, I upgraded my level to 50/50 tasks. Completed the first 50/50 task to earn commissions and was able to withdraw the funds I deposited and earned in the platform after I paid 3000 USD (in USDT) for a negative balance. On my second task encountered a negative balance, and in completing the tasks I made makeup for negative balance. paid in cryptocurrency (BTC) using 8000 USD. Continued the task and second negative balance. paid 15000 USD (to purchase cryptocurrency. Continued to complete the task and wanted to withdraw the money I paid and the commissions and bonuses I earned but encountered a negative balance again required 35.5K in cryptocurrency.
At this moment I realized that I pushed beyond my limit. Reached out to customer service, my tutor (referrer), and the platform manager, and the response I got was that pay for the negative balance to complete the tasks and withdraw the money I deposited, and the money earned to complete the tasks.

November 21, 2023

In reply to by Cheri

I am currently in this same exact situation, it’s VRBO. I am not sure if it’s a scam. Wondering if I should get out now!

December 06, 2023

In reply to by Cheri

This happened to me as well, he still asking me to deposit. What happened next?

September 15, 2023

Just want to warn people if you get a Texas number and it’s from a Terrence Lucas it’s a scam.

September 26, 2023

To all the people that got scammed recently/in the past, (including myself, of course) It's a lesson learned for sure and majority of us I'm sure that it always cost something, 95% is straight your hard-earned work money that is required for the lesson to be is what it is and only thing we could do most of the time is to warn friends&family about the high risk(s) of it or the story of how you gotten scammed....🤦‍♂️😔😞 (forreal it sucks *ss, lowkey)


October 02, 2023

I have been trading crypto and doing well, however I have gone to make withdrawl my funds to help pay some debts and now been told I can't get my money until I pay A$36404. Have I been scammed the company seems to be reputable. I have no money to pay this and stand to lose $30000

Joel Brown
October 10, 2023

In reply to by Stu

This sounds close to what I went through. I "made" over a 200% profit and wanted to withdraw a small amount. Was told I have to pay a Gas Fee of over $57k in order to access my funds.

October 23, 2023

In reply to by Stu

Similar thing happened to me. Inorder to withdraw $12000, I have to deposit another $6000, which I'm not gonna do. They say some private tech experts can do it. They want some advance payment. Have you tried anything?

November 20, 2023

In reply to by Mu

We are on the same situation, im super stressed because i lost lots hard earned money, someone invite me to invest and this is the most unbelievable thing happened, she is helping me to achieve the higher level in crypto to gain more profit. but the time im withdrawing $10000, its under review and when i contact the customer service,they say that i did not verify my identity before i extract and it triggers the system and they want me to deposit $10,000 to unlock my account. Dont do it!

November 20, 2023

In reply to by Stu

same thing happened to me. to make withdrawal, they charge me around 8329. nothing was deposited to my account. it hurt me so much

Irene Landry
October 04, 2023

I think I have just been scammed out of my money. $15,997.32 to be exact. It started with a message that i had to contact this number at microsoft...George Crawford. Then a lawyer
Ryan Buchanan from the Dept. of Justice then Anna Collins from Webster Bank. The money was going to be put into a Federal Safety Account and I would get it back i 3-5 business days. I put my money into cryptocurrency and sent it to them. I feel so stupid and foolish. I did not do my due diligence. Is there anyway I can get my money back? SOOOOO stupid.

FTC Staff
October 05, 2023

In reply to by Irene Landry

You usually can't reverse cryptocurrency payments. After you pay with cryptocurrency, you can get money back only if the person you paid sends back the money. Contact the company you used to send the money and tell them it was a fraudulent transaction. Ask them to reverse the transaction, if possible.

Ann Hafter
November 08, 2023

In reply to by Irene Landry

My sister just lost several thousand to this same scam! She really believed she was dealing with the FBI. The worst was how they scared her and said not to tell her family because it would put them in danger of having their bank account drained! She kept it from her husband and family for 2 days! I feel so badly for her and her husband, he had no idea till he saw the bank account was empty!

October 10, 2023

Expert earner stock index
They continue asking for deposit of money in bitcoin for fees so you can withdraw money but they never let you withdraw anything

November 21, 2023

Lindiwe Nxumalo on Instagram is a scammer

Catherine Lozier
October 26, 2023

Unfortunately, I fell into and employer scam and lost $950. Posting so others can be aware of someone that goes by the name of MEGAN BRUCE with Capella Therapeutics. They have also posed as Lauren with Dara Biosciences. A website and login info for an ‘employee portal’ is provided to make things seem legit. Never pay some a ‘database software plan’ with bitcoin, that’s not real. A legitimate job doesn’t involve cryptocurrency at all.

October 27, 2023

Dont share anything about your crypto with anyone you do not know or met online dating, they will scam you, they almost got me cause I was just getting into crypto and they wanted to teach me and kept telling me to follow some links on web3, but luckily I caught on really quick to the scam

Tommy Hutson
November 03, 2023

I was tricked in to paying someone who said they were protecting my banking account today

November 03, 2023

They were not able to scam me and that infuriated them because I reported them and now they’re sending me life threatening emails, threatening my life and my loved ones life

Nadia Shanaa
November 06, 2023

In reply to by Lisa

That isn't correct, the reverse is the case instead because once the fee is paid, you will have access to your complete donation money which will enable you to pay all bills, get a better living condition generally, and most importantly, make up for all lost times with the kids and provide everything you feel you owe is the core purpose of the scheme in the first place, to put a smile on family faces Via. Daniel meuli

Christopher Enbysk
November 06, 2023

Mavis Wanczyk scam on Instagram claiming that she will give you $10,000 to her first 1000 followers after one fee and another she ended up conning me out of 453

Pamela Maynard
November 06, 2023

Paid for a work ID in crypto, then they wanted to send me money to buy equipment to work from home but wanted me to pay for it in crypto. I feel stupid that I let them play me for a fool. I even looked up the name of the person who was offering me a job and the company, that was all good according to what info I could find.
Then I read a disclaimer from the company that people are offering fraud jobs with the company name and using names of people who work for them.

San KS
November 16, 2023

I was made to invest around 60K in the crypto trading and later collected around 45k as service fee on profit , now I am not allowed to withdraw my money from the platform. I have reported to all the authorities and not getting any kind of updates or help to get my money back. Did anyone gone through such incident and got their money back , please let me know so that I can get some help from authorities.

Rapheal Seun T…
November 20, 2023

It’s has been over 7days I use the blockchain platform for a transaction and it’s still on pending after trying to call them it’s the answering machine please help me get to blockchain

November 21, 2023

Hello ...
I got sucamm for job primary website they ask me to desgin 20 logos they pay btc coins but it worth nothing unless you pay them 500 $ to activate the coins i reach to matemask customers serives they confirm this fake coins it worth nothing

Mqadi Moses
December 07, 2023

Mr Hansen Edward CEO of Royalassests corporation scammed me if 25000usd in BTC investment and nothing has happened to this scamming company Royal assets Cooperative is a scam

Paul M
December 11, 2023

I was scammed 200K from a platform posing as Tokolon.
After dumping in 100K the platform froze my account because I inquired about new Nerve coins they called it. Demanding I send funds to make of the balance of $225,000 USDT. The person helping goes by Olivia Lilly then proceeded to supposedly sent 50,000 USDT and ask I come up with the balance. I did and now they are requiring me to come up with 10% of the $1.6 million USDT I accumulated while fake trading on the fake platform. I've gone to the local police, FBI and now the local government to ask for help with bringing these people to justice.

Paul M
December 11, 2023

I was scammed 200K from a platform posing as Tokolon.
After dumping in 100K the platform froze my account because I inquired about new Nerve coins they called it. Demanding I send funds to make of the balance of $225,000 USDT. The person helping goes by Olivia Lilly then proceeded to supposedly sent 50,000 USDT and ask I come up with the balance. I did and now they are requiring me to come up with 10% of the $1.6 million USDT I accumulated while fake trading on the fake platform. I've gone to the local police, FBI and now the local government to ask for help with bringing these people to justice.

Lisa Taylor
January 02, 2024

Yes I had been converting crypto,to money and a scammer set up my phone withapps so he can get me the money I found out it was a scam, and I drop the spos he used..what else do I need to do to protect my bank accounts,he tapoed into them with a lie...