Washoe County residents lose over $500,000 to sophisticated cryptocurrency scams in 2023

An elaborate scam is leaving residents reeling from the loss of thousands of dollars.

We recently heard from a victim of a phone scam where she lost $17,000 and she is not alone. According to the Washoe County Sheriff's Office, Washoe County residents lost more than $500,000 to bitcoin scams in 2023. The victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, says it all started with an innocent online search to solve a Amazon Prime membership problem. They say that after calling a support number they found during an online search, they encountered scammers posing as various authorities such as the FTC and Wells Fargo. The scammer allegedly threatened them by saying that their bank account was linked to online criminal activities and that to prevent the crimes from occurring they needed to withdraw money and secure it in cryptocurrency.

The fact that I made this phone call thinking I was doing the right thing makes it even scarier that something like this is announced...it's just an expensive life lesson learned right now.

In August we reported the WCSO was able to recover $15,000 for a Lemmon Valley resident who lost money in a bitcoin scam as the coin was still in the bitcoin ATM. In a statement, the Washoe County Sheriff's Office urged the public to be vigilant as cryptocurrency scams targeting residents continue.

"The Washoe County Sheriff's Office reminds the public of the dangers of cryptocurrency scams. It is important to note that legitimate businesses and government agencies will never solicit payments in cryptocurrency. Scammers are using increasingly sophisticated methods and can have personal information about their victims, such as their name, address and bank details, before contacting them. These scams can be very convincing and scammers may use threatening tactics, such as threats of legal action or jail terms, to pressure victims to to give them money."

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