Casper Police are saying that scammers have moved beyond phone calls and are now entering the high tech realm of cryptocurrency and other technology-based scam opportunities.

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That's according to a press release from the Casper Police Department, which stated that they want to warn the community about "potentially devastating" new forms of scams and frauds.

"Our department routinely receives reports of fraud or scams and have noticed an increasing trend that include new technology, cryptocurrency, and investment scams," the release stated.

The CPD shared information on malware and investment scams, and offered tips to the community on how to avoid being taken advantage of.

In terms of malware scams, the CPD stated that victims are contacted directly, or victims are encouraged to contact the perpetrators to discuss malware that was executed on the victim's computer.

"The suspects demand money to 'clean' and 'secure' the computers," the release stated. "As a result, victims are pulling out several thousand dollars and buying cryptocurrency through the cryptocurrency 'ATM's' located in our city. The suspects are sending QR codes linked to their online 'wallets', which the victims send the cryptocurrency to. The suspects then continue to harass the victim, demanding additional funds to pay for 'processing fees' or other excuses."

The CPD suggested that if you believe your computer has been infected by malware or ransomware, take it to a local computer repair shop and have them clean it.

"Do not ever trust online 'vendors' or people who contact you directly telling you they have detected an infection on your computer," the release stated.

The CPD also stated that if users are ever directed to buy gift cards, bitcoin, or any other form of payment, instead of cash or credit/debit, immediately refuse.

"Once payment is initiated using money-grams, bitcoin, or gift cards, there is no way to stop the payment or recover your lost funds," the release warned.

Similarly, investment scams are on the rise as well.

In this instance, victims are contacted online and are asked to 'invest' money into cryptocurrency.

"The victim sends money to the suspect, either direct by sending cash, gift cards, or purchasing cryptocurrency online and transferring it to a digital wallet," the release stated. "The suspect sends a photograph of the digital wallet contents, showing a large and often dramatic increase in funds, to the victim to make them believe their investment has been successful. The suspect then asks for additional money to pay for 'fees' associated with transferring the money back into the victim's account. Further, the suspects will always ask for more when money is sent."

The CPD suggested that if people are actually interested in the world of cryptocurrency, that they seek out legitimate, well-known, local financial advisors who are actually involved in that world.

"In many cases, scammers typically use threats, fear, blackmail, abusive language, or other high-pressure tactics with the ultimate goal of forcing your compliance," the release said. "If you feel you are being pressured into sending money to someone you do not know, stop. Take time to voice your fears to another person. If you are suspicious that the activity might be criminal, please call our department and make a report."

The CPD also said that citizens should not relay on their banking institutions to tell them to stop payments. Nor should they expect their banking institution to cover any losses that they experience as a result of these scams.

"Please take time to evaluate any suspicious circumstances you are experiencing," the release said. "If it doesn’t feel right, end the contact, and tell someone you trust."

For more information on this subject, visit this link from the Federal Trade Commission, as they talk about more signs to look for in cryptocurrency scams.

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