Fort Thomas PD Alerts Public of Bitcoin Fraud


FORT THOMAS, Ky. — The Fort Thomas Police Department is warning residents about a new phishing scam that has been reported in the area. The scheme involves Bitcoin, an electronic form of currency.

What You Need To Know

  •  PD has seen an increase in Bitcoin scams
  •  The latest one involves people impersonating law enforcement and asking for money for dropped charges 
  •  Attorneys say it is difficult to recover crypto funds after scam

“Once the money is deposited into a Bitcoin ATM, the cash is gone almost immediately and it is very unlikely it will ever be located,” the department said in a public statement. “The scammers typically stay on the line with you through the entire process until the payment is completed.”

The scammers are pretending to be officers from the local police, U.S. Marshals, Border Patrol, and other law enforcement agencies, according to the department. They tell victims they must pay a certain amount to have charges dropped.

Brian Levin of Levin Law said his office receives hundreds of inquiries every month from people who have lost money to crypto scams. 

“We have seen people invest millions and millions of dollars in this scam. Then when they try to retrieve their money, they are told to pay a 20% tax,” Levin said.

Unfortunately, Levin said it is difficult to recover the funds from this type of fraud. 

“Cryptocurrency transactions are not reversible, unlike certain cash transactions with banks, so once the money is sent out, it is nearly impossible to get it back,” Levin said. “The crypto could be in a private wallet, which makes it even more difficult to get back.”

A lot of Levin’s current work involves suing large corporations for data privacy issues like unauthorized account access – much of which happens in the crypto space, he said.

The Fort Thomas Police Department said other scammers have been altering email domains. 

“If you click on those domain names, they can take control of your computer and then start their demands,” the department said.

Bitcoin ATMs can be found in many small gas stations, convenience stores, and liquor stores throughout northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati.

“If you find yourself in one of these locations while speaking to these scammers, hang up the phone and call your local police department immediately,” the department said. “Police departments will never ask for money to take care of warrants or trouble over the phone. Do not give out any personal information over the phone. If you are asked to deposit money into a Bitcoin ATM, it is a scam!”

Levin said hacking scams are happening all over the country and anyone can easily become a victim if they are not careful. 

“Criminals know people are investing in cryptocurrency and they see people getting high returns on their investments,” Levin said. “It is very easy for criminals to install malware and spyware on your device when you click on a link. This can happen on your computer or phone.”

Levin said his firm has been successful in helping recover assets in these cases.


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