• Malicious actors target traveling individuals and lure them of high-paying jobs in another country
  • Criminal elements target victims in Asia where they are offered a wide range of job opportunities
  • The FBI said travelers should take extra caution when it comes to job ads with unusually high salaries

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has warned the public of a new modus operandi criminal elements have devised to target desperate job seekers and force them into job-tracking-linked cryptocurrency scams.

The bureau issued a warning Monday, advising U.S. citizens and others traveling abroad to exercise caution on advertisements connected to labor trafficking, which held victims against their will, intimidated them, or forced them to "commit international cryptocurrency investment fraud schemes."

Criminal elements primarily target victims in Asia where they are offered a wide range of job opportunities, including call center customer service, technical support and beauty salon technicians, and promise lucrative pay, attractive benefits as well as all-inclusive travel arrangements with free lodging and meals.

Victims realize they are scammed when they arrive in a new country and are housed inside a compound with no possible way out. Armed with a variety of creative but coercive techniques, criminals confiscate the victims' passports and travel documents to discourage them from escaping and fleeing.

Threats of violence and actual physical harm are made to make sure victims cooperate and abide by whatever was asked of them.

Criminals also use the deb trap strategy by charging victims with ludicrous fees, expenses and bills to ensnare them in the vicious cycle of exploitation, weaponizing the debt to control and manipulate them.

The FBI released several tips that individuals should observe to protect themselves from falling prey to these scams.

"Research the advertised company before accepting a job offer. Beware of vague language about the company or limited employment details," the bureau said, adding that travelers should take extra caution of "job advertisements with unusually high salaries and many perks."

The FBI further said that "if you plan on relocating to a different country for a new job, inform family and friends of employment details, to include contact information from the job advertisement"

Individuals should also "schedule regular check-ins with family and friends to confirm safety and well-being" before relocating and should "enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at to receive safety, security, and travel advisories for your destination country. By registering for STEP, the local US Embassy or US Consulates can contact you during an emergency."

Further, the bureau advised that "if you are a victim of labor trafficking, contact the nearest US Embassy."

Criminals have long been exploiting the anonymity and decentralized nature of digital assets like Bitcoin to conceal their identity, as well as the source of money, making it all the more challenging for authorities to easily track them down and seize their funds.

Tech Support Scam