Here’s How This Waukesha County Resident Lost $17,000 in Bitcoin Scam

Here’s How This Waukesha County Resident Lost $17,000 in Bitcoin Scam
Cover Image Source: Waukesha County resident lost $17,000 in Bitcoin scam | Unsplash | Photo by General Bytes

A gas station is the last place where one would expect to be scammed. However, something similar happened to a man in Waukesha County. A man who noticed a false payment of $19.98 on his Apple account called Apple support and lost $17,000, per FOX6 News Milwaukee

Image Source: Pixabay (representative image) | Image by Pete Linforth
Bitcoin | Pixabay | Image by Pete Linforth

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It is not very clear how the man lost his money but the person who posed as the Apple executive was not with the company at all. The warrant mentions that the man who posed as the Apple executive identified as "Alex" later transferred the man to Topwn Bank, where he already had an account. There the man spoke with someone who posed as the bank's worker and asked him to withdraw $17,000 from his account to "verify his identity."

This man who identified as "George" then gave him instructions to deposit the funds into the Bitcoin machine at Genesee Food Mart and then into an account that "George" had set up for him. The man later told the investigators that there was a warning on the kiosk that was put up to help people avoid scams but detectives said that "George" assured the man that his money was in safe hands and would be wired back to him in just four to six hours. "I’m fearful. I’m afraid to go anywhere. I’m afraid to tell anyone," said Malec who lost $17,000.

The Waukesha County Sheriff's Department will hold a cybersecurity class to spread awareness about scams like phishing and talk about safe browsing habits. 

According to CoinDesk, losses from crypto investments in the US totaled $3.94 billion in 2023, which was an increase of 53% compared to $2.57 billion in 2022. "Fraudsters are increasingly using custodial accounts held at financial institutions for cryptocurrency exchanges or third-party payment processors, or having targeted individuals send funds directly to these platforms where funds are quickly dispersed," the report said.

Americans are losing their savings to online tax scams. Image Source: Unsplash|Photo by Dmytro Demidko
Americans are losing their savings to online scams (representative image) | Unsplash | Photo by Dmytro Demidko

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Losses from investment scams are also the most common cybercrime in 2023 with over a third of the total $12.5 billion, according to the report. FTC also reported how the scammers are constantly working on changing tactics." People reported skyrocketing losses through bank transfer and cryptocurrency," the FTC said. The FTC also warned everyone against fake employees for big companies like Amazon and Apple which was also seen in Malec's case. 

"A fake Amazon employee might transfer you to a fake bank or even a fake FBI or FTC employee for fake help," FTC said. Furthermore, the FTC said that scammers also use fake giveaways and discounts to conduct criminal activity such as money laundering, and more.

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With 2023 being the year of recovery for cryptocurrency, it's understandable that scammers are again looking at ways to encash the boom in the industry. Many scammers now rely on romance scam tactics which use social engineering to build relationships with victims and later take advantage of the built trust to scam them.

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