BEND, OR -- "In the past 30 days, we’ve had 28 calls related to scams and online fraud," says Sheila Miller, with Bend Police, "And those are just the ones that get reported to us." The agency is more concerned about those that go unreported and uninvestigated, "I think a lot of people, after something like that happens, say, ‘Whoops. Well, that was my fault. I’m embarrassed. I’m not going to tell anybody’."
Miller tells KBND News, "We had a person be directed to transfer about $25,000 into Bitcoin ATMs, after receiving a message indicating that her IP address had been hacked." In another case, a fake Bend Police Lieutenant claimed the victim needed to transfer $9,000 to clear a warrant.
Then there was the scammer posing as Border Patrol, "Who claimed that the victim had ordered packages that had drugs in them. So, in order to get out of the drug cases, they needed to pay money to avoid being arrested." Miller adds, "A lot of them tend to include requests for Zelle transfers, Paypal, all these different online apps," Which should be an immediate red flag, "Law enforcement and federal agencies are never going to call or email you and demand money. If we need money from you, we’re going to come find you. They’re not going to ask you to transfer money into Bitcoin ever. I promise. Maybe 50 years in the future, when Bitcoin is the only thing that exists - but for now, we’re going to deal with U.S. tender.
Miller says victims are often older adults who are less tech savvy; but no one is immune. "These things hit across the board because really, the scammers are willing to spend time. These are not ‘two seconds and get off the phone.’ They’re people who are spending hours on the phone with these people, calling repeatedly."
BPD also reminds people not to give personal data like a social security number or banking information to someone over the phone or via email. If you think a call or email is suspicious, do not respond and contact non-emergency dispatch. And, if you become a victim, file a report with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center.