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Bitcoin scammer tricks older Texas men into paying $300,000 in fines for alleged sexual misconduct

The scammer will tell his target to pay in increments to a bitcoin machine or kiosk at a location, according to Tarrant County officials.
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TARRANT COUNTY, Texas — A scammer has recently been forcing many Texans to pay fines with bitcoin for alleged sex-related misconduct, according to the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorneys Office.

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

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

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

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

County officials say the call will appear to come from 817-884-1400, which is the general telephone number to the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorneys Office. The scammer will falsely identify himself by name as an investigator. 

So far, senior citizens in Tarrant County have been tricked into paying fines that have totaled around $300,000.

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Any fine required 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 and tell them to pay fines to Bitcoin machines," Wilson said. “If you are contacted, fight back – report the crime to police. Don’t be the next victim.” 

This is one of the latest cryptocurrency-related crimes being reported in North Texas. Many scammers prefer people to pay by cryptocurrency because it's much more difficult for victims to get their money back, officials have 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 into Athens ISD's computer systems, asking for $50,000 in cryptocurrency.

If you have been impacted by the Tarrant County scam, officials are asking you to report the crime to the police department in the city where it occurred. If you believe you may be getting scammed, call the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorneys Office at 817-884-1400 and ask for the investigator who called you.

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