Bitcoin investment scam drains Durham couple's bank of more than $70,000

Diane Wilson Image
Friday, May 17, 2024
Durham couple loses more than $70,000 in investment scam
This scam transpired over six months in what they thought was an investment opportunity.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Durham couple is out more than $70,000. This scam transpired over six months in what they thought was an investment opportunity.

Pamela Mangum said her intentions were good.

"I saw a way that we could actually do some things around the home. My husband had been interested in maybe getting a newer car, and I just thought it was a way to be able to do that," she said.

Mangum saw social media posts from one of her relatives about an investment opportunity and thought it could be a way to get some extra cash.

"I kept seeing posts of really nice cars that she had just recently been able to purchase through a Bitcoin mining transaction."

SEE ALSO | Cary man loses more than $750,000 of savings in crypto investment scheme

"You feel pretty ashamed of yourself when something like this happens," Jim Wilkerson said.

Mangum wanted part of the apparent opportunity.

"I clicked on that Bitcoin link and from there is where it all started," she said.

Through an Instagram message, Mangum was instructed by a person who claimed to be her investment coach. After investing $3,500, she saw her profits grow.

"The money went from like $3,500 and then it was like at $35,000, then it went to $54,000," Mangum said to Troubleshooter Diane Wilson.

Seeing apparently big returns, Mangum kept investing. She kept all of her Bitcoin ATM receipts that show over the course of several months, she put thousands of dollars into a Bitcoin ATM.

Messages from her coach showed her that her investment appeared to grow to more than $159,000.

"When I went to request that I wanted to withdraw my funds, I was told that a delivery person would deliver my funds to me by a cash carrier," Mangum said.

The carrier never showed.

SEE ALSO | FBI warns of rise in cryptocurrency scams, some NC victims lose life savings

The FBI in Raleigh warning consumers about a growing scam that is taking tens of millions of dollars from people in North Carolina alone

When Mangum went to her bank, she learned scammers got access to even more of her money.

There were several transactions over the last couple of months to Cash App accounts in Mangum and her husband's name. Mangum said she nor her husband have Cash App accounts and knew nothing about these transactions. She said their bank never notified them of these Cash App transfers.

How did scammers get access to all of Mangum's information? Mangum said it must have happened when she filled out her online investment profile.

"You had to enter a checking account number, you had to enter your debit card and all of your identifying information. So from that information, this scammer person in Nigeria was able to establish a Cash App account using that information," Mangum said.

Mangum reported the fraud to her bank and police, but she said both told her that her more than $70,000 is gone.

"I get very emotional because I'm a smart lady and I just fell for this. I thought it was easy money," Mangum said to Wilson. "It's very difficult for me to swallow that you can't see that I did not do this and in no way have I benefited from any of it. If I've done anything, I've done nothing but lose money."

The FBI said easy money is one of the biggest red flags to these investment scams.

"You are only seeing what they want you to see. These are fictitious profits. These are just what they're saying. All they really want is to separate you from the money -- have you create the cryptocurrency that you're purchasing or get it transferred to you and then take that from you," James Kaylor a Special Agent with the FBI Raleigh office said.

Mangum eventually reached out to her relative who was posting all of their fortunes earned from Bitcoin investing. That's when Mangum learned that the relative's social media page had been hacked. It was scammers doing all of that posting, hoping to trick family and friends, which they did in Mangum's case.

Investment scams continue to trick people into giving away their hard-earned cash. In 2023, the FBI says this type of scam took $4 billion out of the accounts of people in America.