Artist in Houston Duped Out of $130K in Cryptocurrency Scam


Richard Hall, an 82-year-old artist from Houston, recently shared his experience of being swindled out of his life savings. He was contacted by someone claiming to be Alan Lee from the Federal Trade Commission, who said they were trying to identify hackers on his account.

A few days later, the scammer told Hall that they had found 10 or so hackers in his system and would put out some wire transfers to see if that would attract their attention. The first transfer was only for $4,000 or $5,000. The scammer then proceeded to ask Hall to install AnyDesk, a software that allows remote access to his computer, and went through his emails and other data.

The intensity of the scam increased, and the scammer eventually asked Hall to transfer $130,000 in two wire transfers of $64,500 each to a firm that converted currency into Bitcoin. Hall was even “groomed” by the scammer, who claimed to be from Northern India, exchanging recipes with him.

Unfortunately, Hall’s bank soon called to inform him that he was involved in a fraud. When the FBI arrived, they told him that it was too difficult to track the money and get it back. A GoFundMe account was created to help Hall, and he urges others to be aware of these scams.

According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center’s 2022 Elder Fraud Report, there were 88,262 victims over 60 of internet fraud, with a total loss of $3.1 billion. Cryptocurrency-related losses reported by the elderly increased by 350% in a single year.

The Federal Trade Commission warns that scammers will often demand cryptocurrency as payment. The most common cryptocurrency scams involve large investments or online dating, and scammers may pose as well-known companies and organizations, including law enforcement agencies, utility companies, and government agencies.

Hall urges everyone to be vigilant and to check on their parents and grandparents to ensure they don’t fall victim to these scams.

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