A Victoria resident was tricked out of $1,700 after a skilled scammer impersonated a police officer and convinced the person to pay a non-existent fine in Bitcoin.
The resident told police the day before they received the scam call they had received a legitimate notice in the mail from the Canada Revenue Agency regarding their taxes. So, when they saw the VicPD non-emergency line pop up on their phone, they took it seriously. Little did they know, it was just a coincidence.
The person calling was, in fact, a sophisticated scammer using voice over internet protocol technology to make their number appear as VicPD’s. The scammer said the person was about to be arrested on fraud charges related to their tax account. Convinced that they were speaking to a real police officer, the victim was tricked into revealing personal information and manipulated into purchasing $1,700 in Bitcoin to pay a non-existent fine.
Through a combination of threats and promises, the scammer had the victim then share the Bitcoin QR code with them, at which point the victim realized they had been scammed.
Police say it is unlikely the individual will get their money back.
They are reminding people that police will never contact someone by phone and demand money and that they don’t collect fines on behalf of the Canadian Revenue Agency. And, even if the number someone is being called from appears accurate, VicPD said it is best to hang up and call it back to make sure. If someone demands payment in bitcoin, it is certainly a scam, police added.
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