PHOENIX — Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes is warning of a new bitcoin scam that is going after seniors.
Scammers are calling seniors and telling them their financial accounts have been compromised, with the hook being that the victim has to withdraw money immediately and wire it to the fraudsters as bitcoin.
The criminals often have victims’ personal information and discourage contacting law enforcement or telling anyone about the plans.
“Scammers are taking advantage of vulnerabilities among some senior citizens like trust in others and a lack of familiarity with digital currencies like bitcoin,” Mayes said in a press release.
“It’s crucial that our seniors take the time to verify information and consult with trusted advisors or family members before making irreversible financial decisions.”
How can you avoid falling for the bitcoin scam?
The AG’s office offers several tips to avoid getting scammed. Here they are:
- Verify information: Before taking any actions, hang up and independently verify the legitimacy of the caller by directly contacting the organization they claim to represent. Never use the contact details they provide — call whoever they claim to represent directly. Scammers can mask numbers making it appear that a legitimate company or organization is calling you.
- Be skeptical: Always be skeptical of unsolicited calls, especially those asking for immediate action involving financial transactions. A government agency will never ask you to remove money from your accounts to send via bitcoin, wire transfer or gift cards.
- Secure your personal information: Never share personal information like your social security number, bank account details or passwords over the phone with unknown callers or give anyone real-time access to your computer.
- Consult trusted individuals: Always consult with a trusted family member or friend before making any substantial financial decisions, especially those involving digital currencies like bitcoin.
- Report suspicious activity: If something feels off, it probably is. Report the call to local law enforcement and file a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.
What do I do if I’ve been got by the bitcoin scam?
Anyone who believes they’ve been a victim of the bitcoin scam or other fraud can file a consumer complaint online.
Complaint forms can also be mailed to individuals by contacting the AG’s office in Phoenix at 602-542-5763, in Tucson at 520-628-6648 or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at 800-352-8431.