CLEVELAND — The FBI and Scam Squad from the Cuyahoga County have combined forces to warn the public about a new twist on old scams.
You may have heard of the grandparent’s scam, utility bill scam, and relative arrest scam. Lately, there’s a new way crypto scammers are trying to get your money, according to officials.
“Now scammers are asking you to pay in Bitcoin,” stated Sheryl Harris, Director of the Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs. The FBI warns; soonest the scam happens, your money’s gone.
“Unfortunately, once that money is gone; it’s almost impossible to get it back so the best we can do is prevention; and that’s why we’re trying to get the word out,” stated FBI Special Agent Vicki Anderson.
Signs will soon be put up on bitcoin ATMs across the county. The signs are intended to make people think twice before going through a transaction; because cybercriminals could catch them in a scam.
Crypto scam victim shared his experience
“The point of the signs is to just give people a chance to pause, like wait a minute,” remarked Harris.
“I got a call that sounded exactly like my son,” the man stated. The caller posed to be his son. He said that he had a car accident and was hurt. He was asking for bond money because he’s in jail.
The complex scam included the man and his wife following instructions to withdraw $9,000 in cash, going to a bitcoin ATM, using the QR code the scammer sent the couple, and depositing the money. All while, the scammer stayed on the phone.
“The shopkeeper comes up and says ‘can I help you?’ I said we have to send money to an attorney with this machine and he’s like you’re getting scammed,” stated the man.
Abe Hamed is a shopkeeper at Shaker Quality Foods.
“I just don’t like to see people taken advantage of,” Hamed announced.
“I told him the story he was told by the attorney without him ever giving me an idea what he was doing,” remarked Hamed.
The couple called their son and confirmed it was a scam.
Like many other store workers and owners, Hamed has stepped in to help potential victims by stopping scammers and saving their money. Now, authorities are hoping the signs will help too.
If you or anyone important in your life is a victim or potential victim, the FBI wants you to report it to www.ic3.gov.
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