The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is warning residents of cryptocurrency scams.

The agency indicated that victims have reported a more than $7.7 million loss due to cryptocurrency-related crimes in the region since January 2021.

Authorities warn residents that if they see a text, email, tweet or other social media message telling them to pay with cryptocurrency, “that is a scam.”

The fraud and cyber crimes bureau of the department shared the following tips with the public to avoid becoming a victim.

Scammers use the following tactics to trick people into buying and sending cryptocurrency:

  • An “investment manager” of a well-known company is contacting you.
  • An online “love interest” wants to you to send money or cryptocurrency to invest.
  • Someone posing as a celebrity encouraging you to click on a link or a QR code.
  • A new or established business offering fraudulent crypto coins or tokens.
  • Someone impersonating government agencies, law enforcement or utility companies.
  • Listing fake jobs on job websites.

To avoid business, government and job impersonators, understand the following:

  • No legitimate business or government will email, text or message you on social media to ask for money or ask that you pay with cryptocurrency.
  • You should never click on an unexpected text, email or social media message.
  • You should never pay anyone who contacts you unexpectedly asking for payment with cryptocurrency.
  • You should never pay a fee in cryptocurrency to get a job.

Authorities advise anyone who may have been victimized by this kind of scheme to report it to their local sheriff’s station or police department and file a complaint with the FBI’s internet crime complaint center.