WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WNCN) — If you live in Wake Forest, police are warning you to be wary of a recent scam involving bitcoin and cryptocurrency ATMs.

The Wake Forest Police Department posted the advisory on Facebook.

Police say whenever a “public official,” “law enforcement agent,” or “utility company employee” asks you to deposit money in a bitcoin or cryptocurrency ATM for any reason – it’s a scam.

“No government entity would ever ask you to deposit money into a Crypto-ATM for any reason, period,” WFPD said.

They say scammers are calling people pretending to be a member of law enforcement, a local utility company or a representative of a government agency like the Social Security Administration or the Department of the Treasury.

In the calls, the scammer claims that the victim is being investigated for a crime, their identity has been stolen or they are behind on some sort of payment.

Officers warn the fraudster then asks for payment via cryptocurrency ATMs. They will typically provide a type of bar code known as a QR code and tell you to use it at an ATM to send money to the scammer’s account.

Police say the scammers are also contacting victims via email, posing as employees of companies like Amazon and Norton Anti-virus.

In these scams, officers say the scammer makes it look like the victim received too much money. They then ask the victim to send the money back to ‘the company,’ most often using cryptocurrency or gift cards.

The scammers often know basic information about the victim, which allows them to trick the victim into believing they’re a legitimate member of a government agency.

Police say scammers have event sent the victim fake photos of government IDs and fake documents.

WFPD offers the following tips to avoid scams:

  • Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is
  • Verify the caller’s identity by asking questions a stranger couldn’t answer, or check with a family member to see if the information is true
  • Do not deposit money into a Crypto-ATM or send cash, gift cards, or money transfers
  • Do not give your personal banking account information
  • Do not log into bank accounts as directed by the caller
  • If you have parents or elderly people in your family, take the time to explain these scams to them.

A cryptocurrency ATM is a machine that accepts cash and converts the funds to cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrencies are digital forms of money and are not controlled by banks or government regulation.

Bitcoin is a popular cryptocurrency.

If you believe you’ve been a victim of this scam, you’re asked to report it to the Wake Forest Police Department at 919-554-6150.