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A senior scam

The elderly victim, whose name has not been shared, seemingly went to the gas station at the behest of someone she believed to be a legitimate Chase Bank employee. Jordan said the woman told her she was trying to “correct a mistake that somebody else made.”

It’s believed the victim was prepared to feed around $40,000 into the gas station’s cryptocurrency machine.

Only when Sgt. James Stewart of the White Settlement Police Department arrived did the woman stop putting her money into the Bitcoin ATM.

Fox 4 shared bodycam footage from Sgt. Stewart, which shows the elderly woman saying she has “the bank on the phone” and believes she’s “in danger.” The footage also reveals the confrontation the cop had with the scammer on the woman’s phone.

“She’s not clicking on anything,” Sgt. Stewart told the man, who insisted he was a Chase Bank security team member and said the woman’s plight was not police business.

“You really want to fight this fight with me?” the officer responded. “It is my problem because what you’re doing is committing a crime — that makes it my problem.”

Luckily, with Jordan and Sgt. Stewart’s intervention, the woman never actually hit the “submit” button for her sizable deposit and she ended up getting all of her money back.

“This woman was just a couple of years older than my own mom and I could imagine somebody doing this to her,” Sgt. Stewart told ABC affiliate WFAA “We got [the woman] her money back.”

He added: “The only thing that would have made it better is if I could have put him in jail.”

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Fraudsters into cryptocurrency

Sadly, scams against seniors are on the rise. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), financial scams and cyber crimes involving Americans aged 60 and older resulted in total losses of $3.4 billion in 2023, up almost 11% from the year prior.

Per IC3’s 2023 elder fraud round-up, some of the more common crimes against seniors involve: tech support, personal data breach, non-payment/non-delivery, investment scams, government impersonation, credit card or check fraud, extortion and more. Cryptocurrency scams have also grown particularly prevalent among seniors, and are often initiated through romance or confidence scams.

It’s not clear exactly what exactly prompted the Texas woman to believe she must deposit tens of thousands of dollars into the gas station’s Bitcoin ATM.

Whatever the problem, it’s important to remember that law enforcement agencies, financial institutions or even government agencies like the IRS will never ask you to make payments using Bitcoin or some sort of card like a gift card or prepaid card.

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Bethan Moorcraft is a reporter for Moneywise with experience in news editing and business reporting across international markets.

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