Economic uncertainties weigh on crypto
The price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have plummeted after a major cryptocurrency lender effectively failed and halted all withdrawals from its platform, citing “extreme market conditions.” (June 14)
SUDBURY — Posing as Sudbury Police Chief Scott Nix, a scammer on Monday nearly convinced a local woman to empty her bank account, instructing her to send him the money via bitcoin or she would go to jail, authorities said.
Luckily, the woman figured out that things weren’t right — she lost $4,500, rather than the “huge sum” that the scammer demanded, Detective Lt. Wayne Shurling said Tuesday.
In the latest scheme, a woman received a call from a party listed as “No caller ID” on her phone.
They began questioning her about several things and then hung up. But a short time later, the woman received a call from the Sudbury Police Department‘s business number — 978-443-1042.
Shurling said the number had been spoofed. “This incident went on for several hours,” he said.
The person on the line identified himself as Nix. He said a package being sent out of the country had been seized and contained drugs and money. The scammer convinced his target that the return address was hers, and that police would come to her home to arrest her, Shurling said.
Then the scammer told the woman she would not be arrested if she went to Sudbury Sundries, 100 Boston Post Road (Route 20), and used the Bitcoin ATM to deposit money, then provided the code for the money.
The woman realized it was a scam while she was putting the money into the machine, so she lost just a portion of what she had on hand, Shurling said.
This is at least the fourth incident in which someone was a victim of a bitcoin scam in Sudbury. In each instance, they were sent to Sudbury Sundries — a convenience store — to use the ATM, Shurling said.
The store is not involved, he said, but scammers often use the internet to determine the location of Bitcoin ATMs. That, in addition to Sudbury being an affluent community, makes it attractive for scammers.
Previously, a man was scammed out of about $50,000 in May; a woman was nearly scammed out of $30,000 in June; and another woman was scammed out of $1,900 in July. In the June incident, the woman received a bitcoin code for $30,000 but a store clerk became suspicious and stopped her from giving the code to the scammer, police said.
Shurling said the scams are all slightly different, but in the end they seek the same thing. He said legitimate businesses and legitimate public agencies will never cold call people and demand payment via bitcoin or other cryptocurrency. He said people should always contact the agency or business that contacted them to either report or confirm a scam.
“The money is going offshore,” said Shurling. “Once it’s sent, it’s almost impossible to get back.”
Norman Miller can be reached at 508-626-3823 or email@example.com. For up-to-date public safety news, follow Norman Miller on Twitter @Norman_MillerMW or on Facebook at facebook.com/NormanMillerCrime.