Elderly Woman Loses Lots of Money to Crypto Scam

An elderly woman – who’s choosing not to be named at the time of writing – has been scammed out of $20K through the illicit use of a bitcoin ATM.

Woman Loses $20K to Bitcoin Fraud

The woman recalled in an interview how the situation came about. She received a call from someone claiming to be a federal agent, and he mentioned she had potentially been the subject of identity theft. She commented:

He said, ‘Alright, are you ready to go to the bank?’ I said yes.” He spelled his name for me. He had me put his phone number into Google. It took me directly to the US Marshals Service website.

On the site is a distinct warning claiming events like these are becoming very common. Nevertheless, the woman either didn’t see it or wasn’t aware that the situation was scam-ridden. She said there was no threatening tone from her caller, and thus she had no choice but to take things seriously.

She said she was instructed to go to her local bank and withdraw some money. From there, she was told to go to a bitcoin ATM and purchase the asset. She was told, in her own words:

Then, you’re going to go and use that money to buy bitcoin. It’ll go into a wallet that is strictly yours. Your name is on it. It’s your money.

When she went to the bank to withdraw the necessary funds (which turned out to be around $30K), she said she wasn’t questioned by any of the tellers, and nobody hinted that things may not be what they seemed. She mentioned:

The teller said, ‘We don’t carry that kind of money. The best we can do is give you $9,000 and small bills.’ He called over and found out the branch in Needham could give me $10,000.

After she had sent about $20K to the person she spoke with on the phone, she stopped at her attorney’s office and asked him for advice about what to do regarding the situation. She wasn’t two sentences in when her attorney said she was being victimized.

Her bank – Citizens Bank – has put out a statement concerning her situation. It reads:

We are sorry to hear that one of our customers may have been the victim of a scam… We do work closely with law enforcement when incidents occur and provide training for our colleagues in order to help detect such incidents.

The Money May Have Disappeared

Police in her town are investigating the matter, but it’s likely her money is gone. The woman said:

I’m just pulling myself together now. It was just a terrible ordeal. This can happen to you. It doesn’t matter how smart you are. It doesn’t matter how skeptical you are. You can be had. They’re very good at what they do.

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