April 13, 2024

Deputies highlight crypto scam after nearly $100K stolen from victims

VAN BUREN COUNTY, Mich. — Deputies in Van Buren County are warning residents of a cryptocurrency scam that has led to nearly $100,000 in stolen funds.

The scams arrive in the form of emails appearing to be from legitimate companies stating the recipient had successfully renewed their account or signed up for a new one, according to the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office (VBCSO). Some emails claim the recipients have viruses threatening the security of their accounts.

We’re told victims then call the provided phone numbers and enter a conversation with someone who sounds professional. They’ll reportedly state their name, the company they’re pretending to work for and their badge number to convince the caller they are speaking to a legitimate representative.

VBCSO says the fraudster then informs the caller of a problem with their bank, telling them their balance was compromised and that they need to send money with cryptocurrency or via a cash app. The victim is then transferred to someone pretending to be with the bank’s fraud department, who will then direct the caller to withdraw cash and deposit it at a nearby ATM.

However, deputies say the scam doesn’t end there. It goes on to tell victims they failed to deposit the correct amount and that they need to deposit more. This happens repeatedly until victims catch on to the scam or run out of cash.

Authorities urge the public to show up to the bank in person if in doubt regarding the legitimacy of the person on the other end of the line.

VBCSO stresses banks will never ask anyone to move cash through cryptocurrency, cash apps or gift cards. Check the bank’s website and call the phone number directly to ensure you are speaking to a real banking representative.

We’re told it is hard to convict suspects in these types of scams because they often originate from outside the country.

Lastly, deputies recommend vigilance when clicking emailed links or relaying sensitive information unless you are certain you are communicating with a real banking representative.

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