An Australian nurse has revealed how she was swindled out of her life savings in an elaborate cryptocurrency scam, warnings others about the red flags she should have been mindful of.
Rhonda, who worked as a nurse in Sydney for 44 years, fell victim to the ‘get rich quick’ scam while she was preparing to retire.
The nurse had been surfing the internet when she saw an advertisement offering bitcoin investments using a fake celebrity endorsement from Sunrise host David Koch.
The nurse entered her email address and phone number into a short online form and ‘invested’ an initial $350 in the scam.
The nurse said they had registered her with a few Australian companies and bought bitcoin through CoinSpot, a website that allows members to buy, sell and swap cryptocurrency.
At first the woman claims she saw positive returns from her investment and enjoyed a ‘good rapport’ with the scammers.
Employees of the fraudulent company would email her updates on her investment and phoned her twice a week in a bid to appear legitimate.
The scammers would also encourage the woman to spend some of the initial returns, suggesting she go out and buy a car, which she never did.
The nurse said she continued to invest more and more money into the fake bitcoin investment, until suddenly it was too late.
In March of this year the Sydney woman checked her account to find hundreds of thousands of dollars missing.
She told the radio host she had realised the bitcoin investment was a scam when she asked for her money back.
‘They kept saying you owe more money and I told them I can’t possibly owe you more money because I’ve given you all my money,’ Rhonda said.
The nurse received phone calls from a ‘money monitoring fund’ who said they could help her track down the money if she paid them a fee.
Rhonda asked her friend James to look into the missing funds, who told her she had most likely been scammed and that her life savings were gone.
The veteran nurse is currently on the hunt for the culprits from the fraudulent organisation but said the search was costing her money she couldn’t spare.
With the prospect of retirement now well out of reach, the woman has resigned herself to return to nursing.
‘I always think, there’s probably someone worse off than me, I’m healthy, I’ve got a good attitude to keep going. I’m just taking it one week at a time,’ she said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by a 2GB listener to help Rhonda piece her life back together after the scam, with a goal to raise $10,000.
‘We all need to be aware of scammers and we should do everything we can to prevent them from targeting more honest and hard working Australians like Rhonda,’ the campaign description reads.
‘All money raised will help Rhonda rebuild her life after this devastating loss.’
According to the ACCC, 2500 Australians were duped by a cryptocurrency scam in the first three months of this year, losing a combined $20million.
This number is four times higher than what residents lost during the same period last year.
Daily Mail Australia have contacted CoinSpot for comment.
HOW TO SPOT A PHONE SCAMMER
• Do not disclose personal details to the caller;
• Never provide your personal or banking details to a person who calls you;
• Never provide your financial PIN or account passwords to anyone;
• Do not make any payments to the caller, either via phone, internet, or cash;
• If you are suspicious about the credentials of a person on the phone, ask questions of them. If they avoid answering or refuse to provide information, hang up;
• Don’t let scammers pressure you – scammers use detailed scripts to convince you that they’re the real deal and create a high-pressure situation to make a decision on the spot;
• If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately; and
• Contact police immediately to report the incident
Source: NSW Police