Growing cryptocurrency popularity attracting scammers

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DENVER (KDVR) — Bitcoin is making history as its value just topped a trillion dollars for the first time.

Now that more people are familiar with the form of cryptocurrency, crooks are hoping to cash in, hoping to force victims to buy bitcoin in exchange for personal information in a ransom scam.

Bitcoin, along with the similar dogecoin are legitimate forms of digital currency that people invest in every day. Darlene Armenta tells FOX31 she was shocked when she received a threatening email from someone who said they had been spying on her through her computer and collected damaging information that would be shared with her friends and family, unless she complied with their demands.

“They sent an email claiming that they had video of me looking at something bad on the internet, they were going to send the video to all of the contacts in my email address unless I  sent them money,” she said.

The scammers demanded that Armenta buy $2,900 in bitcoin for them in order to “make it all go away.”

Armenta had never visited the websites they said they would reveal, their story was fake, designed to scare her into cooperating with the scam.

“That is just so despicable to do to anybody,” Armenta said.

Better Business Bureau investigator Ezra Coopersmith tells FOX31 crooks want to demand bitcoin now because many believe they won’t be tracked by law enforcement.  

“You can’t report it as stolen the same way as you would to your bank and have them reverse that transaction,” he said.  

The Securities and Exchange Commission identifies cryptocurrency scam red flags as getting a call or email when you never requested any information and a pitch for an investment that sounds too good to be true. Report all scams to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

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