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Ventura County Sheriff's Office
Wednesday May 3rd, 2023 :: 11:31 a.m. PDT


Ongoing Scams – Financial Elder Crimes using Bitcoin ATM/Kiosks

Nature of Incident: Ongoing Scams – Financial Elder Crimes using Bitcoin ATM/Kiosks
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Date & Time: 5/3/2023
Unit(s) Responsible: East County Investigations Fraud/Forgery Unit & Thousand Oaks Police Station Volunteers in Policing (VIP) Unit
The East County Investigations Fraud/Forgery Unit has noticed a spike involving similar cryptocurrency scams over the last few months.  The scam generally targets victims age 65 or older.  The scams start with the suspect calling the victim or the victim receiving a scam email. The scam email includes a phone number for victims to call to fix a problem, like cancel an order or refund money.
The scam suspects convince the victims into believing they need to pay a debt, a bill, a fine, a warrant or return funds.  The scam suspects direct the victims to withdraw cash out of their bank account and then drive to a nearby Bitcoin ATM. At the Bitcoin ATM, the suspect instructs the victims how to input their cash, which can be several thousands of dollars, into the Bitcoin ATM and send their money to an unknown cryptocurrency wallet address. The victim later realizes it was a scam and does not get the stolen funds returned. Similar scams using bitcoin and cryptocurrency are not new and have been increasing over the last few years as a mode to launder stolen money.
The East County Investigations Fraud/Forgery Unit has learned that scam suspects regularly use internet phone numbers using free mobile applications to commit the crimes. From prior investigations, detectives have learned the internet phone numbers originate outside the United States. The stolen funds sent through cryptocurrency are regularly cashed out using cryptocurrency exchanges outside the United States.  The Fraud/Forgery Unit, with the help of Thousand Oaks Volunteers in Policing (VIPS), will be placing warning signs on Bitcoin ATMs throughout Thousand Oaks to try and prevent additional victims. The Bitcoin ATMs are located inside numerous supermarkets, pharmacy stores, gas stations and liquor stores throughout the city.
The Fraud/Forgery Unit would like to remind the public to never allow an unknown subject from an unsolicited phone call or phone number from a scam email to have remote access (using programs like AnyDesk) into their computer. Scam suspects remoting into computers can obtain personal identifying information and can trick victims into thinking they received too much money, and therefore need to send money back using methods like a Bitcoin ATM to fix a “mistake.”
The East County Investigations Fraud/Forgery Unit continues to combat scams by teaching scam presentations to various elderly communities in the city of Thousand Oaks to inform them about how scams operate and how to avoid becoming a victim.   
Prepared by: Detective Ryan Shoden  
News Release Date: 5/03/2023  
Media Follow-Up Contact: Detective Ryan Shoden
East County Investigations Unit
[email protected]
Desk: (805) 494-8232
Approved by:
Booking Photo Release:
Captain Kevin Lynch
 YES     NO  
Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime.  The caller may remain anonymous.  The call is not recorded.  Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

Ventura County Sheriff's Office
800 S Victoria Ave
Ventura, CA 93003

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 805-654-9511

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