Two women in Grand Traverse County in Michigan were scammed out of more than $50K in crypto funds after falling victim to a digital currency fraud scheme. The news came by way of a statement given by Sheriff Lt. Brandon Brinks.
Lt. Brinks on Crypto Scams
In the statement, Brinks said crypto scams are always difficult to narrow down and track given that they’re always changing, and fraudsters are always altering their methods of obtaining digital asset funds. He said:
They’re always changing. There’s no question that it’s a scam.
The fraud occurred via two separate instances, the first of which occurred in mid-January of this year. A sheriff’s deputy pulled into a gas station and was asked by the attendant to check out a woman who had been feeding huge sums of money into a crypto ATM. The employee said that this was a common occurrence as of late, and he wasn’t sure what to make of everything.
The deputy said he would check it out and went up to the 57-year-old woman, whom he soon realized was still on the phone with the scammer. Someone was on the other end telling her to deposit approximately $4,500 into the bitcoin machine so it could be sent to a wallet of their choosing.
The deputy realized instantly what was going on. He asked the lady for the phone and tried to speak to the scammer, though the individual immediately hung up when he (or she) realized that it was law enforcement now on the other line. The woman was under the impression that the scammer was part of PayPal’s fraud department.
According to Brinks, the woman had received an email earlier that day saying there was too much money in her account. He said:
They play on fear, urgency, and the sensation that you just can’t hang up.
About two days later, the same thing happened to another woman. She was considerably older at 65 and had received an email telling her to call PayPal right away, so she did. She was told by the scammer on the other end that too much money had been fraudulently placed in her account, and that she must either pay it back immediately or face criminal charges.
Most of the People Are Completely Innocent
Brinks says that many of the victims are law-abiding individuals that have never done anything wrong in their lives. The scammers target these types of people because they figure they are easy and gullible, and in sending BTC to untraceable accounts, it’s rare the money is ever gotten back. He said:
Most victims have never done anything wrong in their lives, so when someone tells them that they’re in trouble, they feel the need to act right away out of fear.
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