The Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office is issuing a warning about a scam they say is targeting men in Tarrant County, who are basically being blackmailed.
According to a release, the scam is being perpetrated by a man claiming to be an investigator with the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, who calls his target and accuses him of committing a crime by contacting massage or sex-related websites. The alleged crimes cited involved illegal sexual conduct.
The men are instructed to pay a fine, and it has to be paid to a bitcoin machine or kiosk. They’re told that if they don’t pay the fine, they’ll be prosecuted.
The calls are convincing, since they appear to come from 817-884-1400, which is the phone number to the DA’s office. And the scammer falsely identifies himself by name as an investigator.
The targets have mostly been older men. The release says that so far, they’ve been tricked into paying fines that have totaled around $300,000.
This is a cryptocurrency crime; scammers like to use cryptocurrency because there’s almost no way for victims to get that money back.
Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney Sharen Wilson emphasizes that her office never asks people to go to bitcoin machines to pay fines. Any fine required by a court would be paid to the court.
“No one from my office will ever contact anyone and tell them to pay fines to bitcoin machines,” Wilson says. “If you are contacted, fight back – report the crime to police.”