Bitcoin ATM Scammer Imitating Chase Bank Thwarted by Texas Police Officer

Bitcoin ATM Scammer Imitating Chase Bank Thwarted by Texas Police Officer

A vigilant Texas police officer thwarted an ongoing scam, saving an elderly woman from depositing $40,000 into a Bitcoin ATM at the behest of a scammer impersonating Chase Bank.

On June 19, the White Settlement Police Department (WSPD) reported the successful interception of the scam in progress. A concerned citizen alerted authorities after noticing the elderly woman carrying a substantial amount of cash and depositing it into a Bitcoin ATM. Recognizing the danger signs from overhearing her phone conversation, the citizen’s quick action prompted police intervention.

Chief of Police Christopher Cook praised the citizen’s alertness, noting, “We are extremely grateful for the citizen who recognized these danger signs and contacted us.”

Police Officer Interrupts Scam in Progress

The WSPD reported that the scammer had threatened the victim with arrest if she didn’t transfer the funds, a common tactic in pig butchering scams. The scammer’s caller ID falsely displayed “Chase Bank,” creating a false sense of security for the victim. The elaborate ruse included arranging a ride service to transport the woman to a local Chase Bank to withdraw the money, then directing her to a convenience store with a Bitcoin ATM to deposit the cash.

Dashcam footage released by the police department shows an officer intervening and taking over the conversation. Despite this, the Chase Bank impersonator persisted, instructing the woman to “take the phone” from the officer to complete the transaction.

While the intervention was timely, the victim had already deposited $23,900 into the ATM. Authorities are now working with government officials to recover and return the funds to the victim.

Resurgence in Bitcoin ATM Installations

Despite the rise in scams, the number of Bitcoin ATMs globally is recovering after a sharp decline in May. This decline disrupted a 10-month expansion trend that began in July 2023, primarily due to the removal of over 300 ATMs in the United States, which holds more than 80% of the global market.

As of June 20, the trend has reversed with an additional 93 ATMs installed across the US, according to Coin ATM Radar data, signaling renewed growth even though the numbers haven’t fully rebounded to pre-decline levels. The reasons for the May decline remain unclear, but US law enforcement has been targeting ATMs used for illegal activities, including scams and extortion.

Bitcoin ATM scams have surged in tandem with increased Bitcoin usage. Last year, a major security breach at General Bytes, a leading manufacturer, resulted in the theft of $1.5 million worth of Bitcoin from its operators, underscoring the vulnerabilities and risks associated with these machines.

In conclusion, the thwarting of this Bitcoin ATM scam highlights both the growing prevalence of such scams and the importance of vigilance and quick action by citizens and law enforcement to protect potential victims.

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