11 Call For Action investigation: Colorado Springs woman loses thousands of dollars in hack

Machelle Williams says that minutes after getting an email that she had bought a new phone, she...
Machelle Williams says that minutes after getting an email that she had bought a new phone, she began receiving alert after alert that she had sold some of her cryptocurrency holdings.(Machelle Williams)
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 7:02 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A local woman is still searching for answers after she says hackers stole tens of thousands of dollars from her in mere minutes.

Despite the devastating loss, she tells 11 News she is determined to get justice.

Machelle Williams says it all started when she received a notice from Verizon thanking her for purchasing a phone in North Carolina. Minutes later, her digital wallet, which held tens of thousands of dollars worth of cryptocurrency, was being drained and she was powerless to stop it.

“It was total panic. That’s my life savings.”

Williams has been trying to make sense of the experience for two weeks.

“I got an email around 9:30. It said, ‘Thank you for your purchase, receipt is attached,’ and it was from Verizon. I didn’t buy anything from Verizon, so I went to my email and opened it up, and it said that I had bought a phone.”

After getting that email from Verizon, she was notified that she had sold some of her cryptocurrency holdings, which she keeps a detailed record of.

“Every dollar I invested in whatever account I have. I don’t just have crypto. I write it down. I write down the day, how much, how much I deposit; I have every coin, how much how much I bought of what. I have a stack of papers here of everything they sold.”

A week prior, Williams claims there was suspicious activity on her account, but she was assured by Verizon that her account was secure.

In the aftermath, she has been working to protect her identity and recoup her losses.

“I’m working 75-80 hours a week already. ... I’ve had to change every credit card, every email, I have no email addresses, I have a new phone. I have to keep that number because I am a realtor and I spent thousands on signs with my phone number.”

She’s also taken her case to various agencies.

“I filed it with the attorney general’s office. They told me to call the FBI. I filed it with the FBI, they said file it with the FTC. I filed with the IRS. I’m doing everything and nobody is helping.”

Williams has been in contact with CSPD and a police department in North Carolina, as well as Verizon. She has even provided them with identifying information.

“This is the wallet address right here. This independent number literally tells you who has my money. Nobody wants to know it. ... Verizon has not been helpful. I literally have the ID of the employee who processed the transfer. I have their Omni ID and nobody cares. ... Honestly, I just want somebody to do something. If I don’t get my money back, that’s not the point -- let’s stop them from doing this to anybody else.”

Despite the numerous setbacks, she is determined to make things right on her own.

“One of my kids the other day said, ‘We can start a GoFundMe.’ I am my GoFundMe. I’ve been working since I was 14. I’ve always funded me.” ... I am the victim. I honestly hate that word, but I am probably going to be the best victim ever because I’m not going to let this go.”

Verizon is conducting its own investigation. Williams has provided them with the police reports and additional details in the case, but at this moment the investigation is still ongoing.

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