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Scam Squad puts up scam warning signs on bitcoin ATM machines across Cuyahoga County
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - As more people fall victim to scams involving unusual payment, our partners at the Cuyahoga Scam Squad are taking steps to intervene.
They warn more and more scammers are posing as utility companies, police or government agencies to scare people into sending bitcoin.
“Scam Squad is trying to disrupt these scams by warning people—before their cash is gone for good,” said Sheryl Harris, Director of the Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs.
The signs are intended to make people think twice before going through with a transaction, because they may be caught in a scam.
“Education and prevention are the best tools to avoid being a victim of a financial scam,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Bryan P. Smith. “Technology makes the world a much smaller place and fraudsters can be anywhere. It is imperative for consumers to verify financial transactions prior to sending money in any form, including virtual currency. Be financially safe, learn more before sending.”
“It sounded like him totally. There was never a doubt in my mind,” he said. “My wife came over and I put it on speaker and she thought the same thing.”
He says the scheme got so complex, it involved his son’s supposed attorney and calls to the supposed jail itself, with everyone telling him the Franklin County Jail was about to be on lockdown for 60 days to eliminate a COVID threat.
The couple followed instructions to withdraw $9,000 in cash and went to convert it using a bitcoin ATM at a local store.
Just as they were about to complete the transaction, the father says he stopped to explain to the owner what he was doing at the machine and why.
“He goes, ‘you’re getting scammed,’ but again there’s the urgency and the dire situation and the fact it sounded like my son,” the father said.
“Vigilant shop keepers are great, but they are not always going to be that visible or accessible,” the father said.