Groveland Says Two Residents Scammed Out of $38,000; Police Offer Tips

Groveland Police Chief Jeffrey T. Gillen (Courtesy photograph.)

The Groveland Police Department is warning of bitcoin scams in which two residents have fallen victim.

In the past three weeks, says Police Chief Jeffrey T. Gillen, at least two residents lost a total loss of $38,000. In both cases, the victim received a computer message indicating their computer was infected with a virus containing child pornography. The victims were then told to call a number, provided by the scammer to purchase spyware. Once on the phone, the scammer requests they withdraw a large amount of money and deposit it into a bitcoin machine.

Bitcoin is a form of cryptocurrency that exists only electronically, making it difficult to track and making it almost impossible to recover money.

Gillen passed along Federal Trade Commission safety tips to help residents protect themselves. These include never clicking on a link from an unexpected message, either through email, text or social media message even if it seems to come from a familiar company, not paying anyone who makes unexpected contact and making sure electronic devices are updated regularly to help prevent against viruses and malware.

He noted only scammers demand payment in cryptocurrency and people are never be asked to pay money in order to protect their money. Scammers impersonate businesses, government agencies and love interests, among other tactics. They might use a real name, like the Social Security Administration, the IRS or Medicare, or make up a name that sounds official. Some pretend to be from a familiar business such as a utility company, tech company or charity asking for donations.

Residents who believe they may have fallen victim to a scam are encouraged to contact the Groveland Police Department at 978-521-1212.

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