Rapids cryptocurrency scam prompts warning
FOR CITY TIMES
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — The Wood County Sheriff’s Department is warning the public of a widespread fraud scheme in which scammers portray themselves as a local bank representative or someone from an online store, with the intent to extort money.
On March 29, the sheriff’s department was contacted by an individual who had just recently been scammed by someone claiming to be from their local bank who stated they were working with the FBI. A sum of $9,000 was withdrawn from the victim’s bank account and then entered into a cryptocurrency machine in the city of Wisconsin Rapids.
On March 30, the Wood County Sheriff’s Department executed a search warrant on the cryptocurrency machine involved, the money was placed into evidence and will eventually be returned to the victim.
The sheriff’s department reminds area residents that no bank, business or government agency will ever contact you and tell you to come withdraw funds from your account or tell you to put those funds into a cryptocurrency (Bitcoin) machine.
These machines are often found in gas stations or convenience stores, and allow customers to purchase cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, for a fee by inserting U.S. currency and receiving cryptocurrency in a digital wallet. Be advised that cryptocurrency transactions are not protected or regulated like those which are conducted through a traditional bank, making both cryptocurrency and these type machines very appealing to scammers.
If you are called by someone claiming you are the victim of fraud, be wary, as this is almost always a scam. The caller will present themselves as a representative of a company or organization and will pressure you to make a payment to them. They will often ask you to allow them to access your computer remotely, and the end result is them wanting to stay on the phone with you while you go pick up a form of payment to send them, whether that be a gift card, money transfer or cryptocurrency transfer. These callers will pressure and threaten you to keep you on the phone. This is always the sign of a scam.
If you have been victimized by one of these scams please contact local law enforcement as soon as possible. There are numerous resources available online with information on common scams.
If you have concerns you are being scammed, do not hesitate to contact your local law enforcement agency.
“We would always rather spend a few minutes on the phone with you answering your questions than to hear that you’ve become a victim of a scam,” said Lt. Scott Goldberg, Wood County Sheriff’s Department.