84-year-old woman gets happy ending after White Settlement police intervene in Bitcoin scam

A woman who deposited money into a Bitcoin ATM — after a scammer claiming to be from her bank told her to — received a happy ending to the situation, according to White Settlement police.

The 84-year-old woman was being scammed out of $40,000. She withdrew the money from her bank’s ATM and went to the Chevron at 2025 Cherry Lane in White Settlement to deposit it into a Bitcoin ATM.

That’s where a customer at the shop saw her and thought something was wrong. She called 911, according to a news release from police.

“I was in here getting money out of the ATM and I noticed an elderly lady feeding thousands of dollars into the crytocurrency machine,” the customer told 911 in a recording released to the public. “They have her Facetiming to make sure she’s putting the money into the machine. I just don’t think she’s aware of what she’s doing. ... It just seems so suspect.”

The 911 caller said she tried to stop the older woman to stop putting money into the machine, but the woman said she was “correcting a mistake that somebody else made,” the she says in the 911 recording. She couldn’t get the woman to stop putting money into the machine and saw that she was tiring from standing, so she got her a chair and called police.

The scam

Police said the woman got a call from someone claiming to be a Chase Bank employee and demanding that she get $40,000 from her account and take it to the Bitcoin machine at the convenience store.

The scammers were able to spoof their number so it appeared the call actually was coming from the bank. They even arranged a ride share for the woman, taking her to the bank and then to the convenience store, according to police. They told her that if she didn’t follow their instructions she would be arrested.

As police would later point out to the scammers and the would-be victim, Chase Bank wouldn’t tell any customer to take money out of their account and deposit it into any form of cryptocurrency.

Officers arrived to find the woman sitting in the chair and continuing to put money into the machine. The caller told police the woman had already put more than $23,000 into the machine.

Talking to the scammers

The officer took the phone from the woman to speak to the person on the other end, body camera video released by police shows. The person on the other end said they were with Chase Bank’s security team and the White Settlement officer, Sgt. James Stewart, identified himself as being police and told them to call his dispatch if they really were with the bank.

“OK, let me speak to the customer please,” the person on the other end said in a thick accent.

Stewart told them they weren’t going to speak with the woman anymore even while the person on the other end continued to demand to speak with her.

“If you want to speak with her, you call my dispatch first,” Stewart told them.

The person on the other end continued to demand that Stewart let them speak with the woman, who they called “the customer,” and that he turn on the camera for Facetime and put it on the screen so they could see money getting deposited.

“You have no business doing this,” the person on the other end of the call said to Stewart.

“Yes, I do,” Stewart responded. “This is fraud and theft.”

They continued making demands, including telling the woman to take the phone from the police sergeant, and refused to call White Settlement Police Department dispatch. Eventually they begin trying to get the woman to click “I’m done” on the screen, which would finalize the deposit of $23,900 and send the money to the scammers.

That’s when Stewart got upset.

“She is not clicking on anything,” he yelled at the scammers. “Do you really want to fight this fight with me?”

They tried telling him that it was “not your problem,” but Stewart wasn’t having any of it. He told them they were committing a crime and that made it his problem. They kept trying to speak to the woman, calling her by the wrong name, and that made Stewart even more upset.

“You still haven’t gotten her name right, you frickin’ moron,” he shouted at the scammers.

The happy ending

The woman put the money in but didn’t click anything to end the deposit. That made it possible for police to help her.

White Settlement police Chief Christopher Cook said on social media that police were able to get a check for the $23,900 she’d deposited and Stewart even got to be the one to deliver the check to the woman.

Stewart said he became angry with the scammers because as he was trying to help the woman he kept thinking of his mother.

“I wish we could find this guy and place him behind bars for a very long time because he is probably doing this to other people,” Stewart said in the news release.

Police said the woman who intervened will be recognized for her actions at the next White Settlement council meeting.

The police department worked with the Bitcoin law enforcement liaison and the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office to get the money back for the woman.