FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Officials with the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office are warning people to not be fooled by a new bitcoin scam mostly targeting elderly men.
Officials say it begins with someone who claims to be an investigator with the DA's office calling a person and telling them that they committed a crime by contacting a massage or sex-related website. The scammer accuses the would-be victim of illegal sexual conduct.
The person on the phone is told if they don't pay a fine, they will be prosecuted. The scammer then demands that the fines be paid in increments to a Bitcoin machine or kiosk at a specific location.
One factor that makes some believe the claim is legitimate is because the call appears to come from 817-884-1400, which is the general telephone number to the DA's office. But officials say the call is being spoofed -- a practice when information transmitted to caller ID is deliberately falsified to disguise an identity.
So far, senior citizens in Tarrant County have been tricked into paying 'fines' totaling an estimated $300,000.
The Tarrant County DA wants residents to know that any fine ever required by a court will be paid to the court.
"No one from my office will ever contact anyone and tell them to pay fines to Bitcoin machines," Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney Sharen Wilson said. "If you are contacted, fight back – report the crime to police."
The hoax is one of the latest crimes involving cryptocurrency. Scammers want people to pay by cryptocurrency because there's almost no way for victims to get their money back.
Anyone who has been impacted by this scam is urged to report it to the police department in the city where it occurred.
Officials in Fort Worth are also suggesting that anyone who believes they are getting scammed should call the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office at 817-884-1400 and ask for the investigator who contacted them.
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