The Montana Department of Justice's Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) has issued a warning about a cryptocurrency scam preying on businesses that received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. These loans were a vital lifeline for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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What's The Scam?

Scammers are exploiting lingering uncertainty about PPP loan forgiveness. They contact businesses and falsely claim the owners could be arrested for unpaid loans. Victims are pressured to stay on the phone and avoid law enforcement to prevent their arrest. The scammers then instruct victims to withdraw large amounts of cash and deposit the funds into Bitcoin ATMs for the supposed loan repayment.

Bitcoin ATMs make these funds virtually impossible to recover. Scammers rely on publicly available PPP loan data to identify potential targets and, in some cases, even send forged documents to add legitimacy to their threats.

How Can YOU Protect Yourself?

OCP offers the following tips to avoid falling victim to highly targeted scams such as this one:

  • Law enforcement or government agencies will NEVER contact Montanans asking for money to lift an arrest warrant. If you receive such solicitations, DO NOT respond to or follow any requests.
  • Never send money or provide personal information to someone you do not know, no matter what threats they may make.
  • Always trust your gut. If something feels “off,” about a caller, it probably is.

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

What are your thoughts?

Have you experienced scams related to PPP? Have you been scammed? Let us know in App Chat or on Facebook!

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