Skip to main content
Anatomy of an imposter scam banner

Is there a legit reason for someone to send you to a Bitcoin ATM? The short answer is NO. Will someone from the government send you to a Bitcoin ATM? NEVER. If you’ve followed this Anatomy of an Imposter Scam series, you know there’s more to it than that.

Scammers succeed because they’re good at what they do — which is lying. So, if someone calls and says you have to act now because your money is at risk, you might listen if they’re convincing. They’ll scare you into keeping it a secret — even from your closest loved ones. Once they have you alarmed and alone, they’ll give you the solution to the problem they just created: “protect your money by moving it.” And that’s when they’ll send you to a Bitcoin ATM to “secure” your money. “Problem” solved? Not even close.

That’s because neither Bitcoin nor the ATM will protect your money. In fact, no cryptocurrency will. No matter what the caller says, there’s no such thing as a government Bitcoin account or digital wallet. There are no Bitcoin federal safety lockers. And only a scammer will give you a QR code to “help” you deposit your life savings in a Bitcoin ATM.

What they’re doing is trying to rush you into something you can’t reverse: giving your money to a scammer. So, if you get a call like this, remember:

  • Never move or transfer your money to “protect it.” Your money is fine where it is, no matter what they say or how urgently they say it. 
  • Worried? Call your real bank, broker, or investment advisor. Use the number you find on your account statements. Don’t use the number the caller gives you. That’ll take you to the scammer.
  • Report it. Tell your bank or fund right away. Especially if you moved money. Then tell the FTC:

Could you share this post with one person today? Scammers love this approach right now. But if we all tell one person, and they tell one person, we can make sure more people know how to stop this scam. Their life savings will thank you.

Did someone send you to a Bitcoin ATM? It’s a scam.

Our “Anatomy of an Imposter Scam” blog series breaks down how to recognize, avoid, and report business and government imposter scams. Read more.

Search Terms

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

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.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to

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.

Dona Maria Keyton
March 11, 2024

I ended up being taken for 300 something dollars

Eileen Tuominen
March 20, 2024

I appreciate the information you provide. Trusting people get taken all the time

Therman Martin
March 20, 2024

I have about 20 hard copies of emails showing the email address & telephone numbers if you ever need them.

March 21, 2024


Sally Bright
March 21, 2024

4 years ago someone talked me into buying bitcoins thru a company.
It kept costing me more & more money. I had to stop
STILL get notices from company(I can't remember name) showing how my bitcoins have gone up.
Haven't a clue if it's real or not but Sure I'll need more money to cash them in.
Any ideas?

Maria Pacilli
April 05, 2024

Thank you for all the info.,as it will be shared.