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The popularity of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has made people susceptible to get rich quick schemes. However, some other types of scammers are not afraid to take advantage of the vulnerability of the old people and go to the extent of psychologically manipulating their victims. FBI and the Cuyahoga County Scam Squad in Cleveland are trying to warn people about such a new type of scam.
The scammers who have been able to dupe people with grandparent scams, utility scams, and relative arrest scams have started to ask people to pay them in cryptocurrencies. Vicki Anderson, an FBI special agent, told the media that once these victims lose their money, it becomes almost impossible to retrieve it. Therefore, the best course of action is prevention.
Shaker Hieghtsman and his wife came pretty close to be victimized by such a scam. Hieghtsman was at his home when he was contacted by an unknown number pretending to be his son. The voice of the scammer matched his son very much. The scammer scared him that his son has been in an accident and he has been arrested. The scammers asked the worried couple to submit bond money.
However, to submit the bond money worth $9000, the scammers asked them to use a Bitcoin ATM. The parents, who became concerned and agitated, did not think much and headed to the ATM immediately. Sheryl Harris, Director of Cuyahoga Police County, told the media that people should be aware the government institutions would never ask people to pay in Bitcoin.
The Couple was saved from the Scam
When the victimized couple reached the Bitcoin ATM, they contacted the shopkeeper in attendance, Mr. Abe Hamed. Hamed noticed the agitation of the troubled husband and wife and repeated the whole scamming charades without getting any details from Hieghtsman. Finally, Hieghtsman calmed down and called his son for the first time.
Hamed told the police that he does not like to see innocent people being abused and taken advantage of.
Upon contacting his son, Hieghtsman and his wife were relieved that everything is all right. Such a scam can cause bigger damages than money loss. The FBI and the Cuyahoga scam squad try to put warning stickers on all the Bitcoin ATMs under their jurisdiction. The officers say that the purpose of putting warning stickers is to raise awareness and make people stop and think more carefully before falling prey to such scams.