Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - On February 26, 2024, the Montana Department of Justice’s Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) warned all Montanans of a current cryptocurrency scam. They reported that fraudsters are targeting businesses that took out Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans, which were designed to help employers retain staff during COVID-19. 

The scammers are taking advantage of the confusion surrounding whether PPP loans would need to be paid back. They are tricking individuals into paying them with cryptocurrency to lift non-existent arrest warrants for failure to pay back their loans. However, most of these loans have been forgiven. 

While on the phone, scammers will tell the victim not to hang up or they will be arrested. Targeted individuals are then directed to take large sums of cash from their personal or business bank accounts and deposit those funds into scammers’ accounts using Bitcoin ATMs. Once the funds are deposited into a Bitcoin ATM, they are irretrievable, and completely out of reach for local law enforcement and the FBI. 

According to OCP, law enforcement or government agencies will NEVER contact Montanans asking for money to lift an arrest warrant. OCP urges Montanans to never send money or provide personal information to someone they do not know, no matter what threats they may make. They say it is important to always trust your gut and if something feels “off,” it probably is. 

Read More: Protect Yourself: Beware Of Tax Scams Targeting Montanans

To report an attempted scam, use OCP’s online reporting form here. You can also call to speak with an investigator at (800) 481-6896 or (406) 444-4500, visit OCP’s homepage, or call your local law enforcement agency. 

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