Bitcoin scammer tricks Texans into paying fines for misbehavior

The scammer will tell their target to pay in increments at a bitcoin machine or kiosk at a location, Tarrant County officials say.

TARRANT COUNTY, Texas — A scam artist recently coerced many Texans into paying fines with bitcoins for alleged sex-related misconduct, according to the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorneys Office.

The criminal making those calls is targeting older men, according to county officials.

What will happen frequently is that a man who says he is an investigator with the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office will call one of his targets, usually an older man. The scammer tells his target that he committed a crime when he contacted massage or sex-related websites.

The alleged crimes cited involved illegal sexual behavior, according to county officials.

If the target does not pay the fine, the scammer says he will be prosecuted. So, the scammer then tells the man to pay in increments at a bitcoin machine or kiosk at a location designated by the scammer.

County officials say the call will appear to be from 817-884-1400, which is the general phone number for the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office. The scammer will falsely identify themselves by name as an investigator.

Tarrant County seniors have so far been ordered to pay fines totaling around $300,000.

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Any fine imposed by a court is paid in court, according to Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney Sharen Wilson.

“No one from my office will ever contact anyone to tell them to pay fines to Bitcoin machines,” Wilson said. “If contacted, retaliate – report the crime to the police. Don’t be the next victim.”

This is one of the latest reported cryptocurrency crimes in North Texas. Many scammers prefer people to pay with cryptocurrency because it’s much harder for victims to get their money back, officials said.

In January, a suspected burglar in northwest Dallas broke into a house through a window before stealing a gun and a small safe containing cryptocurrency account details.

In July 2020, a criminal hacked Athens ISD computer systems, demanding $50,000 in cryptocurrency.

If you were affected by the Tarrant County scam, authorities ask that you report the crime to the police department in the city where it occurred. If you think you might be scammed, call the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office at 817-884-1400 and ask to speak to the investigator who called you.

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