The Downtown Bitcoin ATM Scam
February 15, 2018
Chronicle news & expert crime analysis
(SEATTLE, WA.) – It may have been rude, crude and illegal but sometimes you have to give the criminal element an A for creativity.
Seattle Police say a scam artist posing as an IRS agent attempted to bamboozle a fellow citizen into paying an overdue tax payment through a Bitcoin ATM in downtown Seattle.
Don’t ask us to explain what Bitcoin is and how it works, we still haven't figured it out. It’s supposed to be a “secure digital currency” (yeah, like anything in the digital world is “secure”) which is just like real money as long as the internet remains plugged in and God doesn't hiccup some day and send a plague of locusts and other pestilence.
At any rate, on Monday of this week the 34-year-old target of the scam met with police at 4th Avenue & Pine Street in downtown Seattle and, according to a police statement said he’d received a series of texts from someone claiming to be an IRS agent and this agent demanded $2,560 and said he would call the poh-leece if he didn’t make the payment.
Why on the earth this guy thought the IRS would send him a text demanding money is lost on us and why he didn't just call the IRS on the phone and ask them about the text is a mystery for the ages but in any event, the scam artist tells the vic to deposit the money at a Bitcoin kiosk at Westlake Mall and (swear to God this is true) the vic (evidently not the brightest bulb on the string) actually goes and deposits the money into an account at the kiosk (God would we love to sell this guy some raw land in Arizona) but then, with the help of a family member, changed some of the account settings in an attempt to lock the perp out.
Well, if you’re THAT suspicious in the first place pal, why deposit the money? Why not just call Bob the friendly supervisor at the IRS and say, “Bob are you messing with my mind here?”
Police are still investigating whether the perp was able to obtain any money from the account.
“Detectives aren’t aware of any other IRS scam cases involving Bitcoin, but regularly receive reports of fraudsters attempting to con victims into paying them via Itunes, Green Dot and other gift cards,” said the police statement.
They want you to pay via Itunes and “other” gift cards? Are you kidding? Hey, for our money any dunce who sends a perp money with an iTunes gift card deserves to be fleeced then slapped senseless and deported to Siberia in the dead of winter.
And this final word from the Police: “Remember: law enforcement officials will never call you and demand payment for back taxes, a warrant fee or any other sort of bill over the phone.
If you or someone you know has been targeted in a similar scam, please call 911 to make a report or contact SPD’s Fraud Unit at (206) 684-8981.”
Yeah. Good advice.