April 23, 2024

Deputies: Watch out for phone scams seeking cryptocurrency

PAW PAW, Mich. (WOOD) — Van Buren County deputies are warning of an uptick in scams involving cryptocurrency, that the people they’ve heard from recently have lost nearly $100,000 all together.

The scams work like this: Victims will get emails that look like they’re from legitimate companies, often referencing a bill or a virus.

“An example: ‘You have successfully renewed your McAfee Antivirus Software Subscription for $600. If this was not you, please call this number to cancel,’” a Thursday release from the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office said in part. “Another example (is) a pop-up alert stating, ‘Your computer has been infected with spyware do not use, please call this number.’”

When the victims call the number listed, the person on the other end of the line may offer some sort of company ID number to attempt to show they’re with a real business — but it’s phony.

The scammers tell victims there’s a problem with their account. In some cases, they even transfer the victim to another scammer pretending to be from the bank’s fraud department.

Scammers ultimately ask the victims for money through a money app or via a cryptocurrency ATM. The scammers then ramp up the scare tactics, saying something went wrong with the deposit and asking for more, saying they could lose their job if the victim’s don’t resolve the problem.

“They will use this tactic multiple times until the victims either run out of money or realize that they have not been speaking with their actual bank,” the release read.

It’s difficult to track down online and phone scammers, deputies said, and it’s likely you’ll never get your money back if you lose it.

If you think there’s a problem with a bill you paid or with your bank account, look up the company or bank’s number yourself and then call them, rather than calling a number or clicking a link provided in an unsolicited email. You can also go to your bank in person to find out what’s going on. Real banks won’t ask you to deal in cryptocurrency, money apps or gift cards to resolve a problem.

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