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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Alert! Naperville Police warn residents of cryptocurrency scams

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Above / Four fraud reports regarding cryptocurrency and totaling nearly $750,000 in losses have been filed since Feb. 29, 2024. (PN File Photo)

The Naperville Police Department is warning residents to be on the lookout for scams after noting an unusual number of fraud cases involving cryptocurrency reported since the end of February.

Four cases have been reported since Feb. 29, 2024, and are not believed to be related to one another. Typically, Naperville’s financial crimes unit sees only two or three fraud cases involving cryptocurrency each month.

The victims of the most recently reported scams are two male and two female Naperville residents ranging in age from 45 to 83 years old. Their cases have all been the result of different scam tactics (romance, hacker, arrest, and sextortion), but have two things in common: the victim had never met the offender in person and cryptocurrency was used to make the payment.

Naperville Police Chief Jason Arres

“It’s unnerving to think about how convincing these scammers can be. They really play on people’s emotions, whether that’s love or fear or something else,” said Naperville Police Chief Jason Arres. “I hate to suggest that people not trust others, but that’s exactly what you should do when someone you’ve never met in person wants you to send them money. No matter how convincing they are or how well you think you know them, if you haven’t met them in person, that should be a red flag.”

Tips to prevent fraud from Federal Trade Commission

Here are a few additional tips from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to help protect residents from scams:

  • Do not give your personal or financial information in response to a request you didn’t expect. Honest organizations won’t call, email, or text to ask for your personal information, like your Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers. If you get an email or text message from a company you do business with and you think it’s real, it’s still best not to click on any links or call a number they provided. Instead, contact them using information you find on a company website you know is trustworthy.
  • Resist the pressure to act immediately. Honest businesses will give you time to make a decision. Anyone who pressures you to pay or give them your personal information is a scammer.
  • Know how scammers tell you to pay. Never pay someone who insists that you can only pay with cryptocurrency, a wire transfer service, a payment app, or a gift card. Also, never deposit a check and send money back to someone.
  • Stop and talk to someone you trust. Before you do anything else, tell someone — a friend, a family member, a neighbor — what happened. Talking about it could help you identify a scam.

“Unfortunately, when money is converted to cryptocurrency and transferred to a scammer, it’s very difficult to track that money and the odds of getting it back are very small,” said Chief Arres. “We want people to remember that if someone you haven’t met is asking or demanding that you immediately pay them with cryptocurrency, a wire transfer or a gift card, don’t do it.”

Additional information about recognizing and preventing scams is available on the Federal Trade Commission website. If you believe you have been the victim of a scam or are unsure whether someone is trying to scam you, please call the Naperville Police Department at (630) 420-6665.

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City of Naperville
City of Napervillehttp://www.naperville.il.us.
About Naperville: Located 28 miles west of Chicago, Naperville, Ill., is home to approximately 145,000 people. This vibrant, thriving City consistently ranks as a top community in the nation in which to live, raise children and retire. The City is home to acclaimed public and parochial schools, the best public library system in the country, an array of healthcare options and an exceptionally low crime rate. Naperville has ready access to a variety of public transportation, housing and employment options. The City’s diversified employer base features high technology firms, retailers and factories, as well as small and home-based businesses. Residents also enjoy world-class parks, diverse worship options, the opportunity to serve on several City boards and commissions, a thriving downtown shopping and dining area, a renowned outdoor history museum known as Naper Settlement and an active civic community. For more information, please visit our website at www.naperville.il.us.
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