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Elderly Victims Targeted in Bitcoin Scams

In recent weeks the Hoover Police Department has responded to two incidents involving elderly victims being targeted in financial crimes.  Police were alerted when the victims entered a gas station in the 1600 block of Montgomery Highway with large amounts of cash they began to insert into the Bitcoin machine located inside the business.  As officers and detectives met with the first victim they determined she had been targeted with a pop-up ad on her computer which fraudulently told her about an issue with her Apple account and directed her to call a customer support number.  When the number was called the victim was ultimately connected with a scammer who posed as a representative of her bank and instructed her to withdraw $20,000 in cash to take to the Bitcoin machine to resolve an issue with her account.

     The second incident occurred weeks later under very similar circumstances and again involved an elderly victim being scammed via computer and led to a substantial cash withdrawal.  In both cases alert citizens who observed the elderly victims depositing large amounts of money into a cryptocurrency machine believed this to be suspicious and immediately contacted police.  Officers were able to respond and intervene, but the suspects are believed to be overseas.  The Hoover Police Department would like to take this opportunity to educate citizens about some of the warning signs of these types of scams in order to prevent others from being victimized and losing their hard-earned money. 

  • A sure sign of a scam is being asked to withdraw cash and convert it to another form of money, most commonly cryptocurrency or gift cards. 
  • Scammers will speak with a sense of urgency and work hard to keep you on the phone, discouraging you from contacting police or anyone else.    
  • Scammers may sound legitimate, and they may even know some personal details about you to sound more believable. 
  • Legitimate businesses such as your bank will not ask for your personal information such as your social security number over the phone. 
  • Using search engines such as Google to find customer service phone numbers for companies like Amazon can connect you to a scammer.  Use the company’s actual website to search for the correct number. 
  • Keep a frequent check on your accounts and credit report. 
  • If anything seems suspicious it probably is.  Hang up with the scammer immediately and contact local law enforcement. 

     Detectives in the Financial Crimes Unit investigate reports of fraud, but if the money is lost to overseas scammers there is often little police can do to recover the lost funds.  The Hoover Police Department encourages citizens to review these tips and to take time to speak with members of their families who may not be aware of these scams and may fall victim to them. 

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Lieutenant Daniel Lowe

Public Information Officer

205-739-6762 – Office

[email protected]

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