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Police warn residents about crypto ATM scam

Posted on June 22, 2022

Updated on June 26, 2022

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WAKE FOREST — The Wake Forest Police Department is urging residents to guard against becoming the victim of fraud following recent reports of scams involving bitcoin and cryptocurrency ATMs. 
Many times, it’s hard to tell what is and isn’t a scam. But whenever a “public official,” “law enforcement agent” or “utility company employee” asks you to deposit money into a bitcoin or cryptocurrency ATM for any reason, it’s a scam.
A cryptocurrency ATM is a machine that accepts cash and converts the funds to cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies are digital forms of money and are not controlled by banks or government regulation. Bitcoin is a popular cryptocurrency.
Recently, scammers have contacted victims via telephone, posing as representatives of government agencies (Social Security Administration, Department of the Treasury), law enforcement, and local utility companies. 
In these scams, the callers claim that the victim is being investigated for a crime, their identity has been compromised, or they are behind on some form of payment. The fraudster asks for payment via cryptocurrency ATMs and provides a QR code (a type of bar-code) that is used at an ATM to send funds to the scammer’s account.
Scammers have also contacted victims via email, posing as employees of companies such as Amazon and Norton Anti-virus. In these scams, the scammers tell the victim that their accounts have been wrongly charged and they need to allow them to control their computer remotely. 
Once granted access to the victim’s computer, the scammer manipulates funds to make it appear the victim received too much money. They then ask the victim to send funds back to the company, most often using cryptocurrency or gift cards.
The scammers often know basic demographic information about the victim, which further aids their ability to con the victim into believing they are a legitimate member of a government agency. Scammers have even sent the victim what appears to be photographs of official government IDs and documents to further aid their scam.
Wake Forest Police want residents to know that no government entity would ever ask you to deposit money into a Crypto-ATM for any reason. Period.
WFPD is offering the following tips to help avoid being scammed:
• Resist the urge to act immediately — no matter how dramatic the story is.
• Verify the caller’s identity. Ask questions that a stranger couldn’t answer. Check with a family member to find out if the information is true.
• Do not deposit money into a crypto-ATM or send cash, gift cards, or money transfers. Once the scammer gets your money, it’s gone.
• Do not give your personal banking account information by email or over the phone or log into bank accounts as directed by the caller.
• Explain these scams to parents or elderly relatives.
To report a crime of this nature, call the Wake Forest Police Department at 919-554-6150.

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