The Oceanside RCMP have received a rash of complaints from Parksville Qualicum Beach residents regarding telephone fraud involving cryptocurrency.
One incident of concern, reported the week of Dec. 13, involved a fraudster telephoning a resident, saying their social insurance number was compromised and being used to facilitate money laundering through real estate transactions.
The resident was then told they would be transferred to a Canada Revenue Agency agent. The alleged agent advised the resident they needed to withdraw several thousand dollars and deposit the money into a bitcoin ATM.
The resident recognized this as a scam and told the caller they would phone the police to determine whether this was a fraudulent call. Shortly after, they received a call from a phone number which displayed as the Oceanside RCMP.
The caller identified themselves as a police officer and told the resident the earlier call about their social insurance number being compromised was legitimate and further instructed them to make a deposit to the ATM. Unfortunately, the resident fell victim to this fraud and made the deposit.
Police said fraudsters are adept at ‘spoofing’ or altering the caller ID to show a different number than the actual one being used to make the call, to make people believe they are calling from a legitimate agency.
In this case, the fraudster made it appear they were calling from the Oceanside RCMP.
Sgt. Shane Worth of the Oceanside RCMP said if anyone is looking to confirm information with a particular agency or business, they should call themselves directly and not accept unsolicited calls. The police will never, under any circumstance, instruct anyone to make a bitcoin deposit, he said.
“If you receive a telephone call from anyone identifying themselves from a government agency such as the Canada Revenue Agency or RCMP requesting money or any personal or financial details, hang up the phone. It’s fraud,” said Worth. “The CRA or RCMP will never ask for money over the phone.”
For more information on scams and frauds, please visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca, or call 1-888-495-8501.
– NEWS Staff, submitted
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