Local Business Owner Has $25,000 Stolen In Crypto Scam

CHARLOTTE, N.C. —  Rachel Basile has been a successful business owner for 16 years in West Charlotte. At 59-years-old, she and her husband were looking forward to retirement.

“I’ve worked really hard and so has my husband to retire very soon. Now, that’s been postponed,” said Basile after being scammed out of $25,000.

On December 19th, Basile logged on to her computer at work. That’s when she got a pop-up saying her PC has been locked down.

“I just stared at my screen and thought this cannot be happening,” Basile explained.

She called the number on the pop-up, thinking she was talking to a member of the Microsoft support team. They told her that her computer and potentially all of her devices have been hacked.

“They basically told me I was not to trust anyone. I was not to tell anyone,” said Basile.

Theresa Payton, CEO of Fortalice Solutions, says scare tactics like what was used on Basile is quite common and that the fraud department will never contact someone via pop-up.

“They told her she had to act quickly. They told her they were trying to help her,” explained Payton.

The scammers used that fear to convince Basile to deposit $25,000 into a crypto account using the company Coin Cloud. She believed the account was under her name. It wasn’t.

Not long after the deposit, the con-artists said another of Basile’s accounts was hacked. This time, she needed to deposit $40,000 into that account.

“I just went, Rachel what are you doing? What are you doing?” Basile tells WCCB Anchor Gary Brode.

That realization saved her the $40,000.

Payton says there’s a small chance of recovering that $25,000 but, it’s not likely.

“Most Cryptocurrency payments are not reversible unless the recipient reverses it. However, I would tell victims don’t lose hope; contact the company you used to send the money and tell them it was a fraudulent transaction.  There is always a chance that you could get lucky and get your money back,” explained Payton.

The next steps would be to file reports with FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov ,the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) at CFTC.gov/complaint,the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at sec.gov/tcr, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at ic3.gov/Home/FileComplaint

Payton offers these ways to spot and stop impersonators:

  • No legitimate business or government will ever email, text, or message you on social media to ask for money or demand instant payment while threatening fines or jail time if you don’t comply.
  • Bank fraud departments and crypto fraud departments are not going to call you and then proceed to ask for your login information.
  • Businesses and Government Orgs will never demand that you buy something or pay with ONLY cryptocurrency.
  • Avoid clicking on a link from an unexpected text, email, or social media message, even if it seems to be legit such as a person or company you may know.
  • Don’t take social media advice on crypto investments.
  • Never pay a crypto fee to get hired. If someone asks you to pay upfront for a job or says to buy cryptocurrency as part of your job, it’s a scam.