How a Nurse Became the Latest Crypto Scam Victim
The nurse from Buffalo, New York – who remains anonymous at press time – claims she was tricked into sending money through a bank wire transfer and a bitcoin ATM to unknown parties after a fake pop-up on her work computer appeared telling her that her finances were in jeopardy.
What had happened was that bad actors had taken over her work device and were looking to garner a little money they hadn’t earned. The ad was part of a common phishing scheme that’s being witnessed throughout the cryptocurrency space as of late. Malware locks you out of your desktop and you get a notice that your finances have been infiltrated. A victim is told they must then move their money to a “secret location” or account if they want to ensure their funds remain safe.
The secret locations involve wallets or accounts that are controlled by the hackers. While the victims are told they will be given access to these locations later down the line, this never happens. It is simply a way for illicit players to make off with funds that aren’t theirs. This time around was no exception, as the nurse was told by the pop-up ad that her bank credentials, which were now in the hands of an assailant, had been stolen, and that she had to call a specific number to make sure no further damage was done.
She called the phone number she was given and was asked to wire more than $13,000 to a bank in Asia. She was also told to convert more than $29,000 of her funds into BTC using a bitcoin ATM and then send it to a separate digital wallet. The wallet was allegedly stationed in India, and she was given a barcode so she could send the money.
Todd Maher – president of financial crimes consulting firm Bit Source AML Solutions – explained in a statement that there’s never a good reason to send your money – either fiat or digital – to parties that don’t reveal themselves.
It’s Us Vs. Them!
After losing access to the funds, the nurse was also blamed by her employers for giving the hackers access to her computer. This resulted in job termination. Kathy Stokes – AARP’s director of fraud prevention – mentioned in an interview:
They got the money, the time, the playbook, they have employees, and it’s us against them… If you feel yourself getting excited or upset from an email, phone call or whatever, try and connect that with, ‘OK. I have to be skeptical here,’ because once [thieves have an in,] it’s hard to back out.