Lincoln family loses $700,000 in cryptocurrency scam

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Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 11:06 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The Lincoln Police Department said a family of three lost roughly $700,000 in a cryptocurrency scam.

LPD was alerted about the scam on Monday when a family explained they’d invested in cryptocurrency for several months and now their accounts were locked.

Police said the family was directed online from one website to another to invest and create accounts.

The victims are 39-years-old, 43-years-old and 77-years-old. LPD said in total the family lost $700,000 in this scam but individually the 39-year-old lost $220,00, the 43-year-old lost $335,000 and the 77-year-old lost $145,000.

According to LPD, the family explained that they were told to invest more cryptocurrency to get their accounts unlocked.

Investigators said it’s not clear if the $700,000 loss was in cryptocurrency or U.S. currency.

Anyone with information is asked to call (402) 441-6000 or Lincoln Crime Stoppers at (402) 475-3600.

How to avoid a cryptocurrency scam

According to the Better Business Bureau, cryptocurrency accounted for the second highest scam losses reported to the Federal Trade Commission in 2021, with losses of $750 million.

  • Guard your wallet. If you buy cryptocurrency, the security of the wallet is of prime importance. If you lose the key, then your funds are gone permanently.
  • Look carefully at email addresses and website addresses. Phishing scams often try to trick people into logging in and then capture the log in credentials. Those then can be used to steal money. Looking for an exchange with an internet search engine may lead to fake sites which advertise and impersonate real companies. Be especially careful when viewing these on a phone.
  • Do not pay for products with cryptocurrency. Be careful if someone asks you to pay with Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency. No one with the government will ever ask for this form of payment.
  • Beware of fake recovery companies. Scam companies sometimes claim that they can recover stolen money – for a fee. These are usually scammers.
  • Watch out for fake reviews. Scammers often create fake reviews for their own companies.
  • Be wary of celebrity endorsements. It can be tempting to rely on a prominent figure who has invested in cryptocurrency. But those endorsements are often not authorized and even if they are, the celebrity may be paid for the effort and may not know more about it than you do.
  • Be careful about claims made on social media. This is the most common place for people to encounter investment scams.
  • Be wary of “friends” who reach out to you on social media and tell you how they made money with cryptocurrency. Accounts are frequently compromised. Call your friend by phone to see if it is really them.
  • Only download apps from Google Play or the App Store. Trusted app stores do not eliminate the threat of app scams, but they do offer a basic level of protection. Be careful with apps. Some contain malicious software.
  • Do not believe promises of guaranteed returns. No one can guarantee how an investment will perform.
  • Seek help and support. Cybercrime Support Network offers a free, confidential support program for romance scam survivors.

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