RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -Few schemes work so well for a con artist than the offer to protect you and your money from other thieves.
This one began with an email to an elderly local woman advising her that her bank account had been compromised and asking her to call a number she assumed was the bank’s internal security staff. “She calls and they tell her ‘Hey, the bank itself has an internal problem and we want to secure yur money and make sure it doesn’t get stolen,’”says Det. Richard Spaulding of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office. “They directed her to go to her bank and withdraw large amounts of money in $100 dollar bills and we’re going to put it into the blockchain for cryptocurrency.”
This was to be done through a cryptocurrency ATM. (Yes, there are such things. If you haven’t noticed< they are showing up, most often in convenience stores.
She did as she was told, Hours later, the doubts began and she called others to check it out. Fortunately, they did and just in time, the financial crimes investigators from the sheriff’s office stepped in with a warrant and were able to recover her cash from the ATM. In a few more hours, Spaulding says, it would have disappeared into the crypto world. “And at that point, we no longer have viable evidence of a crime. We know that the crime has occurred We know money was deposited. We know crypto’s been purchased, but it’s all been removed. It’s a ghost.”
So, an unusually happy ending. but this case contains valuable lessons for the rest of us.
First, the scammers were intent on keeping her on the phone, leaving little chance for reflection or investigation. That’s their aim. If you receive a message like this, you should call time out, contact the bank yourself calling the number on the back of your bank card or going to your local branch in person. If it’s legit, the people you’re talking with will understand
Finally, the use of cryptocurrency should be a red flag.
Whatever else cryptocurrency is or isn’t, it definitely is unregulated and unlike the bank you’re being told to worry about, it’s uninsured.
Think about it. If there were a problem with your account, the bank, backed by the FDIC–Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is already the safest place for your money.
Copyright 2023 KOLO. All rights reserved.