MANSFIELD, Ohio — Lois Guthery of Mansfield has lost much of her confidence in trusting anyone after she lost $5,500 in a cryptocurrency-related fraud last month.
Guthery said it started with an email she thought was coming from the Best Buy Geek Squad involving a service contract, but when she contacted the number in the email, the fake Geek Squad clerk told her he made a mistake, accidentally depositing $5,500 into her account.
“And he’s going ‘oh my God, oh my God, if my manager finds out about this I’m going to be fired, oh my God,’” Guthery said. “‘I need you to now take out $5,500, go to your bank.’ I didn’t realize until the bank told me that oh yes, he moved $1,800 dollars from savings to my checking.”
Guthery told News 5 she was then instructed to take the money to Mansfield gas station Bitcoin depot and send the fake service manager $5,500 in Bitcoin.
Ericka Dilworth, Cleveland Better Business Bureau Director of Operations, told News 5 consumers should never give funds of personal information on a phone call they didn’t initiate. Dilworth said never give someone remote access to your computer unless you’re absolutely certain who is getting the access on the other end of the phone.
Dilworth said the BBB Scam Tracker indicates cryptocurrency-related fraud has tripled in Northeast Ohio in just the past two years.
“It’s complicated to know about Bitcoin and even when you hear about it, it’s kind of an out-there concept,” Dilworth said. “She thought that she was dealing with somebody she could trust.”
Dilworth recommends those still unsure of the validity of a call to end it and call back on a number you know is accurate for who the caller is claiming to represent.
“You should really end the call and then call that person back on the number you know to be true. You know it’s so incredibly risky to do a transaction over the phone. There are very few situations where we would recommend that you allow remote access to your computer, you just can’t trust that. It’s likely a stranger that wants access, it’s likely a scammer that wants access and you just can’t trust that,” Dilworth said.
Meanwhile, Guthery issued a warning of her own.
“My $5,500 dollars, how disgusted am I? At the end of my limit,” Guthery said. “Anything that I can do to number one, maybe capture them, and number two to make people aware. Because I thought I was pretty good at avoiding this stuff, but they got me,” she said.