If You Get a Call About This, Hang Up Immediately, Police Warn
Falling for this scam could cause irreversible harm to your finances.
From unwanted calls from telemarketers to wrong numbers, it's hard to be excited these days when you hear your phone ringing. But while these calls are simply a nuisance, other calls from unknown numbers carry more serious consequences. In fact, a police department just issued a major warning about one type of call that should prompt you to hang up immediately. Read on to find out what you should be listening for the next time you answer the phone.
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Police have issued a number of recent warnings.
Police departments across the country issue warnings to residents whenever they notice increasing criminal trends that could bring them harm.
In Jan. 2022, officials in San Antonio, Texas, sent out a public warning about scam artists sticking fradulent QR codes on public meters to trick people into giving up their private payment information by "paying for parking" on a fake website. And just this month this month, a police department in Charlottesville, Virginia, alerted people about a new scheme where scammers will call claiming to be law enforcement telling you that you owe a fine for failing to appear for jury duty.
Now, there's another call to be wary about.
Watch out for this dangerous spam call.
On June 13, the Salem Police Department in New Hampshire posted a warning on its Facebook page, alerting residents to a new con. According to the post, the department has "recently seen an uptick of scam calls" related to cryptocurrency. As the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) explains, cryptocurrency is a "type of digital currency that generally exists only electronically" and is usually bought via phone or computer.
"People receive random phone calls from strangers demanding that you take money out of your own checking or savings account, and deposit it into a Bitcoin ATM, or, buy a certain cryptocurrency on an app," the police warned, adding that some scammers will even try posing as store management to try to convince employees to take money out of a cash resister and deposit it into Bitcoin ATMs.
Officials say you should hang up immediately if you get a call like this.
The Salem Police Department said residents should not follow through on demands of strangers calling about cryptocurrency. Instead, officials advise that you end the call immediately to avoid falling victim to this scam. "The first step is to hang up," the department wrote. "The scammer will try everything to stop you from hanging up the phone because once you do, they know the jig is up and they've just wasted their own time."
You should also block the number once you've ended the call, according to the Salem Police Department. If not, they could continue calling you in order to wear you down.
"Whatever they promise you, whatever they threaten you with, whatever they say, hang up, and block their number," the officials wrote. "They will get creative and tell you if you do not do this something bad will happen, or they will make you a lot of money if you only give them a certain amount of money. It will never happen."
You likely won't be able to get your money back from a cryptocurrency scam.
If you need to dispute a credit card charge, your company can usually help you get your money back, but "cryptocurrencies typically do not come with any such protections," the FTC warns. That makes this kind of scam especially dangerous.
"Cryptocurrency payments typically are not reversible," the agency reiterates. "Once you pay with cryptocurrency, you can usually only get your money back if the person you paid sends it back. Before you buy something with cryptocurrency, know the seller's reputation, by doing some research before you pay."
If for any reason you continue to receive cryptocurrency scam calls, the Salem Police Department advises that you contact them—or your local police, if you're not in Salem—as officials can "give you advice and investigate if necessary." You can also contact and report the scheme to the FTC.