A 77-year-old woman from Indiana lost over $12,000 after being scammed over the phone by a person claiming that he was trying to help her with another technical issue.
According to Newsweek, the older woman was initially alerted via email that her Paypal account had been compromised and lost $500, which was not true. She was then prompted via email to call a specific number, to which a man lied about guiding her through getting her money back and told her to purchase $3,500 in Bitcoin. She was later prompted to divulge her bank information, which would later lead to six withdrawals equaling $8,800 and the scammer taking over $12K from her.
“It does seem that at a certain age, too many people can be susceptible to these type of scams,” Chesterton police Sgt. Dave Virijevich said. “These types of criminals prey on the genuine goodness of people. They’re preying on their trusting nature.”
“I’m guessing that this woman had never heard of Bitcoin until she was told to purchase this untrackable, untraceable currency,” he continued. “And they’re perpetrating this crime from non-extradition countries, meaning these criminals will likely never get caught.”
The woman eventually got $2,000 back from her bank and bought a new phone to report this crime to the police, but Virijevich pointed out that the software that these scammers are using makes it easy for them to trick older people.
“These criminals are psychological manipulators who are very good at what they do, sad to say,” he said. “They are randomly dialing thousands of people’s phone numbers in our country. If only a handful of people fall for the scam, it’s very profitable for them. And if they live somewhere where the value of U.S. currency is higher, this woman’s loss of $12,000 here could represent a gain of $30,000 to $40,000 there.”