In an increasingly digital world, scammers are finding new ways to exploit vulnerable individuals, particularly the elderly. One of the most insidious schemes to emerge in recent years is the bitcoin ATM scam. At Spetsas Buist, we're committed to helping educate would-be victims of how these bitcoin ATM scams work, and we are here to help victims of these fraudulent schemes fight back and protect their rights.

A Real Example of a Bitcoin ATM Scam

Bitcoin ATM scam image with bitcoin in mouse trapA recent case in Lexington County, South Carolina, highlights the devastating impact of bitcoin ATM scams. Glenda Mooneyham, a 73-year-old woman, fell victim to scammers posing as her bank, who convinced her to insert $30,000 in $100 bills into a Bitcoin ATM at a local gas station. The scammers provided a QR code, claiming it would send her money to a secure location. Instead, the funds were routed directly to the scammers, leaving Mooneyham with a depleted savings account.

Mooneyham's story is not unique. As fraudsters become more sophisticated, they are increasingly targeting vulnerable individuals, particularly the elderly, through Bitcoin ATM scams. In 2022 alone, the Federal Trade Commission reported $9 billion in fraud, with people over 60 losing more than $1.6 billion.

Luckily, at least one law firm has stepped up to hold companies making a profit off of Bitcoin ATM transactions accountable for not taking steps to safeguard folks against fraud. A class action lawsuit has been filed in South Carolina which alleges that the outrageous transaction fees, often around 30%, are making companies rich on the back of fraudulent activity that harms the most vulnerable in our society. As more people come forward, it is our hope that victims in other states, including Florida, can seek justice.

Fighting Back Against the Bitcoin ATM Scam

It’s our belief that companies operating bitcoin ATMs and the establishments where they are located have a responsibility to protect consumers from fraud. In Mooneyham's case, attorneys are using a recently-enacted South Carolina law to hold the ATM company, Bitcoin Depot, and the gas station, Circle K, accountable for their role in the scam.

This particular South Carolina law allows for civil claims against financial institutions that participate in or materially aid the financial exploitation of vulnerable adults, like the elderly. Ultimately, by pursuing legal action against these companies, the goal is to send a clear message that facilitating fraud will not be tolerated.

Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones from a Bitcoin ATM Scam

If you or a loved one has fallen victim to a bitcoin ATM scam, know that you are not alone, and help is available. Our firm and others are working to hold companies accountable for facilitating any Bitcoin ATM scam. However, we can only step in after the fact; the best way to protect yourself and your family from these scams is through education and vigilance.

To protect yourself and your family from these fraudulent schemes, consider the following:

  • Be cautious of an unsolicited text message or call claiming to be from your bank, government agencies, or utility companies demanding payment in bitcoin.
  • Never share personal information, such as social security numbers or bank account details, with unverified contacts.
  • Never follow orders or requests to withdraw cash and put it in a Bitcoin ATM, whether it's a Bitcoin Depot ATM or some other crypto ATM.
  • Beware of romance scams aimed at preying on vulnerable and lonely individuals.
  • Remember that legitimate entities will never demand payment solely in bitcoin or gift cards.
  • If you suspect you've been targeted by a bitcoin ATM scam, contact law enforcement and seek legal counsel immediately.

Remember, the goal of scams involving bitcoin is to convince the victim to deposit money into a crypto ATM or a Bitcoin ATM, to be sent to some untraceable wallet. You can find a Bitcoin ATM at many grocery stores, convenience stores, and gas stations. The subject store in the South Carolin class action lawsuit is Circle K.

If You're the Victim of a Bitcoin ATM Scam, You May Have Legal Rights

At Spetsas Buist, we understand the emotional and financial toll that bitcoin ATM scams can take on victims and their families. In researching this topic, we’ve learned of countless heartbreaking stories of vulnerable and trusting senior citizens losing everything to a Bitcoin ATM scam.

Our experienced lawyers are dedicated to fighting for the rights of those who have been exploited by these fraudulent schemes, and we’re actively seeking solutions. If you or a loved one has been affected by a bitcoin ATM scam, don't hesitate to reach out to our team for guidance and support. You can call us at (321) LAWSUIT, or you can fill out a form on our website, and we’ll reach out to you.

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