El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office warns of cryptocurrency scams

Staff Report

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office has seen an increase in fraud involving cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, the office said this week.

Financial crimes detectives said these schemes typically start with the victim receiving a call from a party claiming to be a member of the Sheriff’s Office, Drug Enforcement Agency, Franchise Tax Board, or other similar official entity.

The office said victims may be led to believe they have debts to settle or have pending legal actions against them, and they will be encouraged to settle immediately by purchasing and sending cryptocurrency through a cryptocurrency kiosk, (found in many convenience stores).

Unlike normal financial transactions, cryptocurrency transactions are often anonymous and may be difficult or impossible to trace. This makes them an appealing method for criminals to defraud victims and increases the risk that a victim will not be able to recover their lost assets.

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office and most other official agencies and utilities do not accept any form of cryptocurrency as a valid form of payment.

If you are contacted by anyone demanding payment in cryptocurrency, you should be suspicious. After gathering as much information about the caller as you can, consider terminating the call and calling the entity in question back directly from a known official telephone number.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.