Elderly Woman In Moore Loses Savings In Bitcoin Scam

A woman in Moore lost her life savings in a Bitcoin scam and now is warning others of the signs of potential scamming through computers.

Wednesday, December 6th 2023, 6:08 pm

By: News 9, Deanne Stein


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An elderly woman in Moore says she was scammed out of thousands of dollars. Now she wants to warn other people not to fall for it.

Donna Johnston, 78, said the man on the other line convinced her he worked for Microsoft and was trying to protect her from computer hackers, but it turns out it was just the beginning of a string of lies to get to her bank account.

Sitting at the computer paying bills is something Johnston learned to do after losing her husband Billy to cancer four years ago. “He'd always taken care of everything,” she said.

She said he was still taking care of her financially with money in a savings account at Banc First, until Monday. “All of a sudden my computer stops,” Johnston said.

She said several windows popped up, including a security warning and a number to call. She called. “I just thought he was trying to show me what he needed to clean up on my computer,” she said.

The man told her she had 13,000 hits on her computer and that someone was trying to transfer money out of her savings account. “They're very convincing and he just kept me on the line constantly,” she said.

 She said the man with a foreign accent told her the only way to protect the money was to withdraw it, in cash. Then, she was instructed to take it to a convenience store at 100 W Main in Moore and deposit the entire $8,000 into a Bitcoin machine. “A hundred-dollar bill at a time,” Johnston remembers. 

Hours later, she received a Bitcoin purchase receipt in her email and thought, “Oh my God, what have I done? I was sick because I realized that money was gone.”

The Moore Police Department is investigating and says it's working with the bank to hopefully get Johnston her money back. “Nine times out of ten if it's involving a Bitcoin transaction, it's going to be illegitimate,” said Clint Byley with the City of Moore Police Department. “Once it goes in there, it goes in some other account and it's really hard to track that.”

While the money may be gone, Donna says she still has the love and support of her family. “It hurts my heart for my mother,” said Tami Sawatzky, Johnston’s daughter. “It was just the security of knowing that my dad was still in a way taking care of her and now that's gone, and it was gone in such a horrible way.”

By speaking out, the family hopes to stop someone else from being a victim. “I don't want anybody else to fall for this,” Johnston said. “It's very controlling over your mind and we as elderly people, we don't have a whole lot that we can fall back on so every little bit helps.”

Donna's daughter Tami started a GoFundMe campaign to help rebuild her mother's savings. To help, click here:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/financial-life-savings-robbed?utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer

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