WINTER HAVEN, FL — Two Polk County residents were recently victims of a phone call scam that involved depositing money into a bitcoin machine to clear up warrants the scammers said they had, Polk County Sheriff’s Office posted Wednesday on its Facebook page.
Bitcoin is the world’s largest digital currency that was created in 2009 following the housing market crash, according to Investopedia.
Deputies said two different elderly victims have been called by people claiming to be Polk County Sheriff’s Office sergeants, and they told the victims they had active warrants.
The victims were told by the scammers, police say, to bring cash to a bitcoin machine in order to clear up the warrant.
Bitcoin machines, also known as bitcoin ATMs, are in certain convenience stores.
Investigators said in the first incident, the convenience store owner overheard the 80-year-old victim on the phone listening to instructions given by the scammer as he tried to operate the bitcoin machine.
The owner intervened and told him to hang up the phone because he was being scammed.
The second victim lost $1,500 to the same scam at a different gas station in Polk County, officers said.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said it will never call a resident to tell them they have a warrant, and they will never ask for money to clear up a warrant.
For the latest scams to be aware of in the Polk County area, visit the Polk County Sheriff’s Office scam page.