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This article was published on April 25, 2019

PSA: Don’t give in to police officer asking for your Bitcoin, it’s a scam

Stay vigilant, people!

PSA: Don’t give in to police officer asking for your Bitcoin, it’s a scam
Yessi Bello Perez
Story by

Yessi Bello Perez

Former Senior Writer, Growth Quarters

Has a cop recently asked you to hand over your cryptocurrency?

Well, a phone scammer posing as a police officer is targeting victims in California, requesting they hand over all the money in their bank account in Bitcoin.

Berkely Police Department (BPD) has issued a warning, stating a woman received a phone call from someone claiming to be “Officer Neil Matthew” of the BPD.

The scammer demanded the woman send him all her money using the cryptocurrency, claiming she was under investigation for “drug trafficking and fraudulent activities.” The woman received multiple phone calls from various numbers – including 911. 

BPD said there is no officer under that name and although the scammer’s caller ID displayed BPD’s listed nonemergency number, the police say nefarious actors are able to mask their own phone numbers with official ones. It’s not known whether the scammer has targeted more people, in or outside of, California.

This is not the first time that scammers resort to requesting funds in Bitcoin and it surely won’t be the last – especially as the cryptocurrency seems to be the most popular among criminals.

Unfortunately for them, though, it seems civilians are becoming increasingly aware about their modus operandi and less likely to fall for their trap and pay up.

In fact, Hard Fork previously reported on how Hawaiian Electric customers had been successfully ignoring a “robocall” scam requesting they pay a Bitcoin amount in exchange for keeping their electricity supply running. Sometimes we, the good people, really do have the last laugh!

Did you know? Hard Fork has its own stage at TNW2019, our tech conference in Amsterdam. Check it out.

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