Temecula Residents Targeted in Rising Wave of Cryptocurrency Scams, Warn Authorities


Authorities in Temecula are warning residents of an increase in phone scams related to cryptocurrency in the last few months that have resulted in thousands of dollars lost by victims.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Office’s Southwest Station reported that at least six cases of people who have been scammed out of their money have been reported by Temecula residents, with some reporting five-digit losses and one even reporting a six-figure loss.

Cryptocurrency is defined by the Federal Trade Commission as “a type of digital currency that generally exists only electronically” and is obtained by using a phone, computer, or a cryptocurrency ATM.

The scams involve suspects convincing victims to convert their money into cryptocurrency and send the funds outside of the country, with some believing they are investing in new cryptocurrency.

Due to the difficulty of tracking cryptocurrency sent outside of the United States, authorities are advising people to be wary of any callers asking to deposit cash into a kiosk-like ATM machine for crypto transactions, and to never trust the number on the caller I.D.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Office advises never giving out personal information or responding to emails asking for confirmation of personal information, and to be aware that government and law enforcement agencies, including the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office and the IRS, will never accept wire transfers, money orders, Bitcoin, other cryptocurrency, or gift cards as payment.

Victims of cryptocurrency scams are encouraged to contact local law enforcement and submit a complaint to the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, which has posted a Crypto Scam Tracker on its website. The Federal Trade Commission has also posted information online on how to spot and avoid cryptocurrency scams.

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