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Crooks steal $800,000 from elderly woman's cryptocurrency account

Alex Anlyan, 84, discovered nearly $800,000 she put into cryptocurrency vanished after she says a hacker got into her account. (WPEC){p}{/p}
Alex Anlyan, 84, discovered nearly $800,000 she put into cryptocurrency vanished after she says a hacker got into her account. (WPEC)

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (WPEC) — An 84-year-old grandmother living in West Palm Beach started investing in cryptocurrency to help save up for her family’s future.

Then, nearly all of the money she put into cryptocurrency vanished after she claims a hacker got into her accounts and drained it.

Alex Anlyan, a Coinbase user, got an unsolicited phone call a few weeks ago.

“It was a Washington D.C number, 202 area, and the man said you have no money left in your Coinbase account,” Anlyan said Monday afternoon.

Coinbase is an international cryptocurrency trading platform with over 73 million users from 100 countries, according to the website.

After that call, she found out that money had been withdrawn from her account linked to Coinbase.

“We found out that indeed all the money had been taken out in $98.50 increments, thousands of them,” she said.

She tells CBS12 she lost about $800,000.

It’s unclear if the person on the other line was with Coinbase or if the caller was an apparent scammer tricking her into revealing sensitive information, like account details.

“I had done my security that Coinbase had told me to do with a two-process security. I thought I was completely secured,” Anlyan said. “It’s put me in a very difficult situation at this point. It happened so fast, and it was easy,” she said.

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Anlyan has since documented her experience in a cyber fraud report linked with police and her bank, yet she feels it led to nowhere.

Theft of digital currency is often too tough to trace.

“I made a report with the police and the FBI,” she said. “It’s hard for people who are older to be able to understand this world of the invisible.”

Coinbase, based and operated in San Francisco, has since closed her account for security purposes, according to Anlyan.

Over 6,000 Coinbase customers reportedly lost money in a phishing attack earlier this year.

“We live in an untrustworthy, insecure world that’s very scary, particularly for the elderly,” she said. “The elderly tried to transfer all these feelings into a modern world that’s very difficult. Hopefully, we can all just be extremely careful and not answer the phones if you don’t know these people.

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CBS12 News is still waiting to hear from Coinbase regarding Anlyan’s case.

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