Social media users are praising a “hero” who was supposedly arrested in New York City for selling altered Chuck E. Cheese tokens as bitcoins. A report claims that he raked in $1.1 million with the scam. Sadly, there is no hero, and this story is phonier than Monopoly money.
Scroll through Twitter and you’ll find numerous screenshots of a story titled “Bitcoin Scam: Man Arrested After Making Over $1 Million Selling Chuck E. Cheese Tokens as Bitcoins” from a website called “Huzlers” (please don’t give the article clicks). People are dying laughing at the “idiots” who would fall for this scam and are applauding the man for giving people who jump on the Bitcoin bandwagon just what they deserve. In reality, the only people being scammed are the ones who believe this article is real.
Huzlers, which identifies itself as “the most infamous fauxtire & satire entertainment website in the world,” is just another fake news site. In this case, the article almost qualifies as satire. It’s funny, you can’t be mad it, but it’s just a little too believable to fully tip into the absurd. And honestly, there’s a solid chance that a lot of people sharing the article don’t fully believe it deep down, they just want it to be true. Don’t be one of those people.
If there’s any doubt that this isn’t fake news, you can use the NYPD’s various inmate lookup services to look for the fictional suspect. He’s identified by Huzlers as “36-year-old Marlon Jensen.” The site also uses some guy’s mugshot in the lead image. It’s unclear why the pictured man was arrested, but it wasn’t because he made a million dollars by scratching Chuck E. Cheese off novelty prize tokens and drawing a “B” on them with a permanent marker, as claimed in the story.
The Huzlers post was likely inspired by the many real crimes that have involved Bitcoin recently and this meme that’s been going around on Reddit:
For the record, this not a bitcoin:
And neither is this:
The latter image is just a coin that’s used to illustrate stories about Bitcoin because it’s better than stock imagery of a hoodie-wearing hacker hunched over a laptop. A Utah man did once mint physical coins with embedded Bitcoin keys, but he stopped in 2013 after receiving a letter from the Treasury Department. Also, despite what that meme says, Chuck E. Cheese switched to a card-based system for buying prizes at its restaurants in 2016. So, unless a manager is feeling generous, those tokens are only valuable as collector’s items.