DENVER — Allan Peschke recently started attending MSU-Denver and was looking for a remote job to accommodate his schedule as a student, husband and father. He posted his resume on Linkedin and Indeed, and within a few weeks, he got a job offer.
"I got this email from a company called Avena," Peschke said. "It looked legit. They had a website, their email domain ended with the company's name. I looked up their address, it was a big skyscraper building in Florida."
Following a successful screening process, the so-called company told Peschke he was hired.
"My role was going to be a remote investor buying cryptocurrency and selling cryptocurrency," Peschke said.
At first, all seemed to go well.
"She gave me account numbers, routing numbers that they claimed to be a work account for me that they would put money into," Peschke said.
The company would then send money to Peschke's bank account.
"We're talking thousands of dollars," Peschke said. "I saw that money come into my account with whatever else I had in there."
Peschke was then instructed to purchase bitcoin with that money and send it to the company's cryptocurrency wallet.
Several days later, he noticed something wrong with his bank account.
"I was on my way to school and I opened up my Bank of America app, and I realized that it was $7,500 in debt," Peschke said.
A few days after that, he learned that that debt had become $18,000. As a result, the bank held onto his student loans that were deposited into that account.
"I've had to pull out my entire 401k to cover rent for the last couple months. I've had to donate plasma," Peschke said.
Former FBI special agent Roman Garcia says these types of scams are very sophisticated and organized.
"These people tend to be a step ahead of law enforcement," Garcia said. "They're always developing, they're always learning."
Joshua Ross, the director of entrepreneurship at the University of Denver, says it wouldn't be a stretch if scammers were keeping an eye on Colorado and learning about its crypto-friendly culture.
"Colorado is the first state to actually accept crypto to pay for your taxes and other fees," Ross said.
That's only the beginning of where Governor Jared Polis wants to take Colorado by making it the nation's most crypto-friendly state.
"Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is growing," said Ross. "There will be scams. There'll be scam artists trying to take advantage of unsuspecting people, so you really need to understand how this works and really what the risk is when you get involved."
For Peschke, it's a lesson learned $18,000 too late.
"I don't know what we're going to do," Peschke said.