A 77-year-old woman in Indiana has become the latest victim of a cryptocurrency scam. The individual – who remains anonymous at press time – ultimately lost approximately $12,000 to digital scammers taking on the guise of PayPal employees who sought to assist her regarding online fraud.
Another Crypto Scam Is in the Books
The woman received a call explaining that approximately $500 had been removed from her account through a cyberattack, and that the PayPal team needed to speak with her about the issue. The woman then called the number she was given and was answered by a man’s voice that told her to purchase approximately $3,500 in bitcoin from the popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.
This should have been a major red flag at the beginning, and it probably would have been though it appears the person in question had never even heard of bitcoin prior to this experience. The idea that money has been stolen from one account and the problem must be resolved by purchasing seven times that amount in a digital asset does not make much sense.
Nevertheless, the man on the other line offered to take the woman through the buying process. She listened and followed the steps closely, and even granted the man access to her smartphone so that he could take over some of the more difficult parts for her. He then asked for access to her checking account so that the money could allegedly be transferred back into her name. She granted it, even going so far as to provide a photo ID of herself.
It was not long before she began to see money taken out of her checking account. As much as $8,800 was removed. When that is added to the $3,500 that she was asked to pay to purchase bitcoin, the total of the scam comes to roughly $12,300.
Sergeant Dave Virijevich of the Chesterton, Indiana police force explained in a recent interview:
It does seem that at a certain age, too many people can be susceptible to these types of scams. This type of criminal preys on the genuine goodness of people. They are preying on their trusting nature. I am guessing that this woman had never heard of bitcoin until she was told to purchase this untraceable currency, and they are perpetrating this crime from non-extradition countries, meaning these criminals will likely never get caught.
New Ways of Garnering Illicit Funds
He also noted that many times, criminals like these will use special call ID protocols to make it seem like their calls are coming from some sort of government agency, causing victims to feel panicked enough to call back and cooperate. He says:
It is really not from the U.S. Department of Treasury or the IRS, but it looks like it is. A lot of older people are not even aware that these apps exist.