A Kill Devil Hills resident was scammed out of $29,000 by individuals posing as agents with the Federal Trade Commission.
On November 14th, 2023 the victim, a 70-year-old woman from Kill Devil Hills, was browsing the internet when a warning window popped up alerting her about a virus affecting her computer and advising her to call (877) 659-4753 or (877) 594-1055. The victim called one of the numbers and spoke with a person impersonating a Federal Trade Commission officer. The victim was transferred to another individual who identified himself as a federal officer (“Jason Roy”) with the FTC. The fictitious officer told the victim she was the subject of ongoing conspiracy and drug-related investigations as well as investigations into money laundering and filing false financial reports.
The scammer instructed the victim to pay a fine for these offenses and ultimately she withdrew the $29,000 from various personal accounts. She sent the money to bitcoin accounts using a QR code provided to her by the fake agents. The victim’s bank was unable to reimburse her for the loss. It is impossible to trace these types of transactions and our agency cannot help her.
The number of local victims tricked by scammers is heartbreaking and disheartening. No matter how many warnings and cautionary tales are circulated about unscrupulous individuals and their methods, there are still people falling prey to the scams. And so, we are appealing to family members, clerks, cashiers, tellers and others in similar positions to help look after folks, particularly seniors. If an elderly person comes to your window or your register and tells you they need to withdraw several thousand dollars in cash (and this is out of the ordinary), maybe make a friendly inquiry. Urge them to call the local police if what they tell you does not sound kosher. If you have parents who are seniors, have a conversation with them about online safety and the ways scammer try to take advantage of them.
And finally, as always, if you receive a communication/alert/text from any local, state or federal agency telling you that you are in trouble and need to pay some fine (particularly a fine for something you’re pretty sure you didn’t do), give your local police department a call first.
Cyber crimes/fraud can be reported online to the FBI at www.ic3.gov.