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  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 15, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bitcoin, , , ,   

    Jury duty scammers find the perfect victim 

    By Greg Collier

    The jury duty scam is a fraudulent scheme where scammers impersonate officials from the legal system, typically claiming to represent a court or law enforcement agency. The scam often begins with a phone call or email informing the targeted individual that they have failed to appear for jury duty and now face legal consequences such as fines or even arrest warrants. To resolve the supposed issue, the scammer then requests sensitive personal information, such as Social Security numbers, financial details, or even payment for the fabricated penalties. These scams play on the fear of legal repercussions, catching victims off guard and coercing them into providing sensitive information or money to avoid fictitious consequences. If you go by the number of times this scam finds its way into headlines, it may be the most prolific scam going today.

    Recently, in the Atlanta Metro Area, scammers found a victim who had recently gone through an experience which made her the perfect victim for the jury duty scam. The scammers posed as her local police and told her she had missed jury duty. In this instance, they used the name of an actual police officer from that department. They told her a warrant was about to be issued for her arrest, but she could avoid that if she just paid a $3000 fine in Bitcoin. The victim deposited the money into a Bitcoin ATM that was in a local gas station. What made the victim more vulnerable to this scam than most was the fact she had just been excused from jury duty last month, so she thought the phony charge was somehow related to that. It was more than likely a coincidence that scammers found such a victim, as scammers typically cast the widest net possible in order to find as many victims as possible.

    If you receive any communication regarding jury duty, it is essential to independently verify its legitimacy. Contact your local courthouse or law enforcement agency directly using official contact information to confirm the authenticity of the message. Keep in mind that legitimate government entities do not employ aggressive tactics, issue threats, or demand immediate payments over the phone or through email. Should you suspect that you have become a target of a scam, promptly report the incident to your local law enforcement agency and the relevant authorities to ensure appropriate action is taken.

  • Geebo 5:28 pm on August 31, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bitcoin, , ,   

    Does cryptocurrency automatically mean a scam? 

    Does cryptocurrency automatically mean a scam?

    By Greg Collier

    Ok, we admit that our headline asks a pretty loaded question we’re pretty sure will get some crypto-bros all riled up. We’re not talking about people who legitimately and knowingly invest and trade in cryptocurrencies. Instead, we’re talking about your average consumer, and for them, when someone asks for payment in cryptocurrency, it’s almost always a scam.

    Before cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum became somewhat mainstream, scammers would ask for payment in gift cards because the funds could easily be emptied from the card, and once that happens they’re virtually untraceable. For similar reasons, scammers have started demanding their payments be made in cryptocurrency. While cryptocurrency can technically be traced, the nature of cryptocurrency allows its users to remain pseudonymous.

    The problem for scammers used to be getting their victims to convert their own money into cryptocurrency. Depending on the scam, scammers could walk their victims through an online cryptocurrency exchange, but something easier has come along. Enter the Bitcoin ATM.

    Bitcoin ATMs are kiosks that allow anyone to either buy or sell Bitcoin. At one of these ATMs, someone could enter their Bitcoin wallet information and exchange their Bitcoin for cash. Conversely, someone could purchase Bitcoin by depositing cash into the machine, and that’s where scammers come in.

    For the average consumer, anyone who asks for some kind of payment or transfer in cryptocurrency is a scammer. Businesses won’t ask you to pay your bills in cryptocurrency. Banks will not tell you your money needs to be protected by exchanging it for cryptocurrency. Neither, will the police, the government, or any tech giant like Apple or Microsoft.

    These scams tend to target the elderly due to their perceived lack of knowledge about modern technology. In just the past 24 hours, we found three stories involving elderly victims putting their money into a Bitcoin ATM, which went straight to the scammer’s digital wallet.

    In Kansas City, a man was dumping thousands of dollars of cash into a Bitcoin ATM at a gas station. Thankfully, the clerk noticed what the man was doing and contacted the police. When the police arrived, the man was still on the phone with the scammer. The scammer hung up once the police officers introduced themselves. The man thought he was talking to his bank, who told him to move his money to keep it safe. Again, that’s not a thing banks do.

    In the Reno area of Nevada, an elderly man almost lost $15,000 to scammers. This victim was told their bank account had been connected to criminal activity. Once again, the victim was told to move their money to protect it. In this instance, the scammers could have impersonated law enforcement officers, his bank or both. This man was lucky, as local police got a search warrant for the Bitcoin ATM, and were able to recover his cash. However, that is the exception and not the norm.

    Lastly, a victim from New Jersey lost $25,000 to a Bitcoin ATM scam. This victim received an email that appeared to come from his bank about a transaction they didn’t make. He was also probably asked to deposit the money into a Bitcoin ATM to protect his bank account.

    Scammers are the only ones who insist on receiving payments in cryptocurrency. Any reputable business will never ask you to send cryptocurrency as a prerequisite for making a purchase or ensuring the safety of your funds. Such requests are always indicative of fraudulent activity.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 23, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , bitcoin, , look who died, , , , ,   

    Scam Round Up: The classics make a return 

    By Greg Collier

    Even though there has been an uptick in technologically advanced scams, there are some classic scams that never went away. Here are three we think you should be reminded of.

    If you get a phone call or email that says there’s been a fraudulent charge on your Amazon account, the chances are it’s a scam.

    A woman from Lincoln, Nebraska, recently fell victim to this scam when she thought she was talking to the fraud department of her bank. The scammers convinced her she needed to make payments in Bitcoin to correct the error. She ended up sending the scammers $52,000 in Bitcoin after withdrawing it from her 401K.

    If you receive a call or message like this, go directly to your Amazon account and check for fraudulent charges. If there aren’t any, then whoever contacted you is trying to scam you. No matter how urgent they make it seem, slow down and verify their story before sending any money. And if Bitcoin is brought up in the conversation, then it’s definitely a scam.

    Scammers love to hijack Facebook accounts. When they do, not only do they get your personal information, but they can then use your account to try to scam everyone on your friends list.

    One of the ways they do this is by sending a Facebook message that says, “Look who died.” The message contains a link that appears like it will take you to a news article. Instead, it will inject malware onto your device that can hijack your Facebook account.

    Messenger is a pretty big breeding ground for scams. Outside of the ‘look who died’ message, you should also avoid messages about government grants, cryptocurrency, or just about any message that involves money.

    You may also want to let your Facebook friend know outside of Facebook that their account has been hacked.

    Last, but certainly not least, is the Publisher’s Clearinghouse scam. We’re all familiar with PCH. If you win a substantial prize from them, they surprise you at home in their Prize Van with a large novelty check. The thing with PCH is, you have to enter their sweepstakes first before you can win anything.

    Scammers will call victims at random while posing as PCH, telling their victims they’ve won millions of dollars. The scammers will then try to get their victims to make a payment to claim their prize. The payment will be disguised as something like taxes or processing fees. This is known as the advanced fee scam, which has cost victims thousands of dollars. Once a victim makes payment, the scammers will continue to string the victim along by asking for more money.

    Keep in mind, it’s illegal for sweepstakes like PCH to ask for money before issuing a prize. That’s why legitimate sweepstakes always have the tagline of ‘no purchase necessary’.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 11, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bitcoin, , , , , toilet paper   

    Scam victim ends up with a briefcase full of toilet paper 

    Scam victim ends up with a briefcase full of toilet paper

    By Greg Collier

    Opinions differ on whether cryptocurrencies are scams themselves, but due to the decentralized nature of crypto, it is vulnerable to scams. Not only that, but the get-rich-quick possibility that some see in cryptocurrencies leave them vulnerable to scams as well.

    One of the more popular crypto scams lately is a form of advance fee scam. Typically, scammers have been finding their victims on dating platforms. The victim is told the person they’ve matched with works for a financial company, and they can guarantee a profit if the victim invests in cryptocurrency. The catch is that the person they’ve just met will invest the money for them.

    After the victim gives the scammer money, the victim is later told that his initial investment has multiplied. However, in order to cash out, the victim needs to make another payment for ‘processing fees’ or some other made up charge. It’s usually at this point that the victim realizes they’ve been scammed.

    That’s not exactly what happened to a 26-year-old Colorado man, but he fell for a similar crypto scam, and ended up with an insulting consolation prize. The invested $23,000 on what he thought was a legitimate crypto investment he found on Instagram. The victim paid the money to the scammers through Cash App and Bitcoin.

    After a while, the victim received a briefcase that was supposed to contain the return on his investment of $210,000. But he was also told that he needed to pay $9000 to get the combination to the briefcase, which he did. Once the briefcase was opened, it contained nothing but books and toilet paper.

    The cryptocurrency market attracts countless con artists, and their favorite way to advertise is on social media. They almost always promise a guaranteed return in any investment made. In truth, no one can guarantee a profitable investment. This goes for investments in traditional financial markets as well. Anyone who says they can, is just selling you a bill of goods.

    Cryptocurrency should only be invested in if you’re familiar with the cryptocurrency market. Even then, as with most investments, you should only invest what you can afford to lose. Otherwise, you’re just gambling to pay the bills.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 27, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bitcoin, , , , ,   

    Loneliness leads to crypto scam 

    Loneliness leads to crypto scam

    By Greg Collier

    Loneliness is one of the greatest vulnerabilities someone can have. It can cause us to make rash decisions or ignore warning signs if we think it will help us be any less alone. Some of the more detrimental decisions people can make are made during bouts of extreme loneliness. Unfortunately, scammers are aware of this too. Lonely people, especially senior citizens who may have lost a partner, are a favorite target of scammers. This is especially true of romance scammers.

    Traditionally, romance scammers find a target online and foster a phony relationship with them. Once the scammer gains the target’s trust, the scammer will start asking for money for some emergency. Romance scammers often pose as military members serving overseas, oil rig workers who are constantly working offshore, or international business people. They use these occupations as excuses as to why they can never meet in public.

    However, there is a new type of romance scam that works a lot quicker than the typical one, as one man from Indiana recently found out. The man is a senior citizen who is on a fixed income. He met a woman going by the name of Elizabeth on a dating site. It wasn’t long before Elizabeth mentioned she worked for an investment company and could make the man some money. The man was told that if he gave her $500 in Bitcoin, he’d make a profit in 5 days. He sent ‘Elizabeth’ the $500 in Bitcoin.

    When it came time for the man to claim his profits, he contacted the supposed investment company. He was told that his initial investment had multiplied more than ten times its amount. When the man tried to cash out, he was told he would need to send an additional $2000 through Cash App to claim his windfall. The man refused and was then asked for his bank account information. It was at this point the man realized he had been scammed. This man probably got off easy, relatively speaking. While we’re sure $500 was a lot of money to this man, other victims to this scam have paid the additional fees the scammers have asked for and never see a penny of it in return.

    No investment is ever guaranteed to return a profit, and especially not cryptocurrency, as that market can wildly fluctuate. If someone you don’t know or barely know promises to invest in cryptocurrency for you, there’s a good chance that they’re trying to scam you. Also, no legitimate investment company will ask you to make any payment through apps like Cash App.

    If you’re lonely and looking for companionship online, please be very careful as there are any number of pitfalls out there that could leave you with a broken heart and an empty wallet.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 6, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bitcoin, , , , ,   

    Scammer drives elderly victim to Bitcoin ATM 

    Scammer drives elderly victim to Bitcoin ATM

    By Greg Collier

    Scammers showing up at the door of their elderly victims is unfortunately not new. We’ve seen this mostly with the grandparent scam, where the scammers pose as couriers picking up the money to supposedly bail out one of the victim’s grandchildren. We’ve also seen an increasing number of scammers who get their victims to give the scammers their money through Bitcoin ATMs. This mostly happens with shut off scams, where the scammers pose as power companies, threatening the victims with their service being shut off immediately if they don’t pay. Now, take the two most alarming parts of those scams, and you have one of the more frightening scams we’ve discussed.

    In Fresno, California, an elderly woman got a pop-up on her computer claiming her device had a virus and that she needed to call Microsoft. The number included in the pop-up did not go to Microsoft, but to a scammers’ phone. The scammer told the woman that someone overseas is trying to hack into her bank account. She was instructed to go to her bank and withdraw $9,000. The scammer also told her that she couldn’t call anyone else, or their phone would get the virus. She was even told to tell the bank that she was withdrawing her money to buy a new car if the bank asked.

    After withdrawing the money, the bank manager even drove the woman home due to the heat and the fact she was carrying a large amount of cash. She had taken an Uber to get to the bank.

    After she got home, the scammer called her back and said that having a large amount of cash at home was a security risk, so they’ll send someone to her home to take her to a Bitcoin ATM to ‘protect’ her money. Someone picked up the woman and drove her to a gas station, where they instructed her on how to deposit the money into the Bitcoin kiosk. This actually sent the money to the scammers and was unrecoverable. Thankfully, the scammer or their accomplice took the woman home unharmed.

    There are few things more frightening than thinking about an elderly relative being driven by a stranger while they’re carrying a lot of money. We’re sure it also makes the scam victim feel less secure in their own home.

    As is with most tech support scams, computer companies like Microsoft or Apple have no idea whether your computer has a virus or not. If they did, that would be a huge breach of privacy. Also, any time someone you don’t know tells you not to call your family or police is virtually guaranteed to be a scammer. Lastly, you can’t protect your money at a Bitcoin ATM. They are mostly used to convert cash to Bitcoin. In these scams, victims are depositing their cash into the scammer’s Bitcoin wallet.

    Scams like this can be devastating to the elderly, as some families decide to oversee their finances. While this would alert family members to large bank transactions, many seniors feel like this robs them of their independence.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 21, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bitcoin, , , , , , , ,   

    Scammers accuse victim of money laundering 

    Scammers accuse victim of money laundering

    By Greg Collier

    A woman from Rochester, Minnesota, recently lost thousands of dollars to scammers. It started when the woman received a robocall that claimed to be from Amazon. The recording said that she had been charged for several Amazon purchases, and to press 1 if she did not make them. After she pressed 1, someone claiming to be an Amazon representative spoke to her. The caller said that they would speak to her bank about the charges.

    Not too long after that call, the woman received another call from someone claiming to be with the Federal Trade Commission. This caller told her that her identity had been stolen. The caller told the woman to protect her money, she would need to withdraw the money from her bank account. However, she was told not to contact police, or she could be accused of money laundering. She was then instructed to deposit the money into a Bitcoin ATM that was at a gas station. The victim lost $7,000 in total.

    This scam has a lot of moving parts, but each one is a red flag if you know what to look for. For example, Amazon does not call customers about fraudulent charges. Even on Amazon’s own help page, they say that if you received any communication about a charge you didn’t make, it likely didn’t come from Amazon. If you receive any communication like this, first check your Amazon account for any fraudulent charges. If there are any fraudulent charges, you can dispute them with Amazon, but you need to make first contact. Amazon will not call you.

    While the FTC is a branch of the Department of Justice, they typically do not call consumers to let them know they’ve been a victim of identity theft. Unfortunately, identity theft is usually only detected by the victim and not law enforcement. Also, no government or law enforcement agency will ever call you and threaten you with arrest while supposedly trying to assist you. If someone tells you to not contact the police, your best bet is to contact the police immediately.

    Lastly, no government entity is going to ask you to move your money to Bitcoin, especially if the Bitcoin ATM is at a gas station. While cryptocurrencies may have gained a modicum of mainstream acceptance, it’s nowhere near the point where the government is using it as a consumer protection platform.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 20, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bitcoin, , , , , ,   

    Scam Round Up: Store robbed over the phone and more 

    By Greg Collier

    To end the workweek, we’re bringing you a few scams that either have a new twist to them, or have appeared in a new area.


    A new utility scam has shown up in the Huntsville, Alabama area. Typically, scammers will attempt the shut-off scam, where they threaten victims with shutting off their power if they don’t pay immediately. Now, scammers are trying a different tack. They’re sending phishing emails to victims that say the victim has paid their power bill twice and the victim now has a credit. For the victim to get the credit back, they just need to click the link in the email. The link then takes the victim to a malicious website that asks for their personal and financial information. Remember, most utility companies only communicate by postal mail. If you think there may be a discrepancy in your bill, call the customer service number on your bill instead of any number on the email.


    We frequently discuss the online puppy scam. This is where victims think they’re buying a puppy from a breeder’s website, but the website is fake and the puppy never existed. Another victim in those scams are the legitimate breeders, as the pictures from their website are often stolen to be used on the fake website. This recently happened to a breeder of Australian Labradoodles in Texas. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot breeders can do about this. However, there are tips you can use to avoid being taken in a puppy scam provided by the breeder. For many purebred dogs from a legitimate breeder, you should expect a wait period. She says that it could be six to 12 months. Avoid breeders who ask for payment in non-traditional ways, such as payment apps like Venmo and Zelle. But as always, we recommend using a licensed breeder within driving distance or adopting from your local shelter.


    Lastly, we have a scam that happened in Kingsport, Tennessee that retail employees may be interested in. A convenience store employee received a phone call on a Saturday morning. The caller claimed to be from corporate headquarters and asked the employee to take the cash in the register to a Bitcoin ATM. The caller even sent an Uber to pick up the employee to take them to the Bitcoin ATM. The store ended up losing $4500. Often, employees like this have no management on site to ask whether this is a scam or not. If you’re in a supervisory or management position at a retail vendor, you may want to have a talk with your employees about scams like this, or make yourself more available in case of a call like this. Let your employees know that a corporation would never direct them to send money through Bitcoin.


  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 9, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bitcoin, , , ,   

    Victims burned twice in Bitcoin scam 

    Victims burned twice in Bitcoin scam

    By Greg Collier

    Since it gained mainstream popularity, Bitcoin has had an air of fraud around it. While people have gotten wealthy through the mining, trading, and investing of Bitcoin, it’s also attracted a large number of scammers. While every Bitcoin transaction is recorded on a public ledger, it’s virtually impossible to reclaim if stolen. Also, due to the fact that Bitcoin is decentralized and has no governing authority, victims of Bitcoin scams have little to no recourse.

    One of these scams is targeting users of Instagram and takes advantage of hacked accounts. Once an Instagram account is compromised, the scammers will use this account to message other users on the account’s friends list, telling them how they’ve made money through Bitcoin. One Instagram use from Omaha, Nebraska, was asked to invest $500 through Cash App to purchase Bitcoin. However, before she could get her Bitcoin, she was asked to record a testimonial saying how successful this Bitcoin scheme was. Not only did she lose the $500, but now a video of her touting the success of this Bitcoin scheme is being shared on social media.

    Unless you have a complete understanding of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency and general, it’s advised to avoid any Bitcoin transactions. This includes friends on social media telling you how much money they made. If you receive a message like that, message your friend back through other means to ask them if they meant to send that message.

    Also, please keep in mind that the majority of agencies and companies will never ask for payment for some kind of bill in Bitcoin. You should also be aware of services who claim to be able to get your stolen Bitcoin back for a fee. That is also a scam.

    Lastly, as with any investment, never invest any money you can’t afford to lose.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 20, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bitcoin, , , , ,   

    The latest twist on the police impersonation scam 

    The latest twist on the police impersonation scam

    By Greg Collier

    Law enforcement officers and agents are arguably the people most imitated by scammers. Most people either have a certain respect for or a fear of the police. So, it seems almost an obvious choice for scammers to impersonate police to get their victims to do what they want.

    We’ve discussed many of these police impersonation scams before. The two most common police impersonation scams are the jury duty scam and the arrest warrant scam. Actually, they’re both the same scam. In the jury duty scam, the scammers will call their victims to tell them they’ve missed jury duty. The victims are then instructed to make a payment over the phone or a warrant will be issued for their arrest. In the arrest warrant scam, the scammers just say that there is a warrant out for the victim’s arrest, although a payment could make the warrant go away.

    When these scammers ask, or in some cases, demand payment, they usually ask the victim to pay through untraceable means. These usually include payment apps like Venmo and Zelle, prepaid debit cards like Green Dot, cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, and of course, gift cards.

    King City, on the Central Coast of California, has reported that scammers are posing as one of their detectives in a police impersonation scam. However, the scammer isn’t threatening their victims with arrest. In this case, the scammer says that they’re investigating a case where the victim’s identity has been stolen. The victim is then instructed by the phony detective to move all their money from the bank to a Bitcoin account to clear their identity. In reality, the money goes into the scammer’s Bitcoin wallet, and they make off with the victim’s money.

    This scam isn’t just limited to your local police department, either. In the past, we have seen scammers pose as the FBI, the DEA, Homeland Security, and Border Patrol just to name a few. However, you can protect yourself from this scam with just one important piece of knowledge. No law enforcement office or agency will ever demand payment for anything over the phone.

    If you ever receive one of these phone calls, try to give the caller as little information as possible and tell them you’ll call them back. Don’t let them keep you on the phone. Then call your local police department and inform them of the call.

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