Crypto scams are more prevalent today than ever. Not long ago, two residents of Southborough were scammed out of more than $31,000 in bitcoin by individuals posing as federal authorities.
Crypto Scams Keep Happening
One individual lost $30,000 in crypto, while the other lost $1,800. Police lieutenant Sean McCarthy, who oversaw the investigation of the incidents, commented in a recent interview:
We’re working with local and state authorities, as well as forensic accountants, to see what can be done for these people.
While both incidents occurred on the 24th of July this year, neither of the victims know each other, nor do they share any personal connections, and McCarthy cites the date as a coincidence. He said:
The ruse they (the scammers) used this time around, generally there are many different scams. This one was they (the scammers) were the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, and they told the victims their Social Security numbers were compromised.
Both the victims were contacted by individuals claiming to be U.S. Marshals. They were then told that their personal data was hacked, and bitcoin needed to be sent through nearby ATMs to fix the issues. One sent BTC through an ATM in Ashland, while the other sent it through a machine in Milford. They each received codes from the scammers and used them to forward the money.
McCarthy was quick to comment that once the money is sent, it’s difficult to trace and get back. Usually, it winds up in the hands of offshore criminals looking to defraud innocent people that don’t know any better.
A new study from the Better Business Bureau shows that crypto scams have gradually increased since the year 2019. In addition, it doesn’t have all the information it needs to accurately show all the fraud that occurs, as it’s likely only five percent of crypto scams are reported to authorities. The study says:
The FBI warns that scammers provide victims with a QR code to their phone, representing the ‘address’ of the bitcoin wallet receiving the funds. The machine scans the code, and the money goes into the blockchain. The recipient can cash it out in just a few minutes after the blockchain is updated.
Never Fall for Things Like This!
In a warning to all who would listen, McCarthy said government agencies will never request money (much less crypto) from people, nor are they likely to reach out via personal phone calls. He stated:
My biggest piece of advice for people is to be wary of such requests. Once you put that hard currency in the machine, it’s turned into cryptocurrency, and it will be gone. It doesn’t seem age is a factor. A lot of people may think it’s older people, but it’s all over the spectrum.