A scam artist pretending to be a Delta police officer convinced a North Delta woman to deposit more than $10,000 cash in Bitcoin accounts on March 4.
According to police, the woman received a phone call from someone who claimed to be from Service Canada, stating her Social Insurance Number had been used illegally, and that the number was flagged as being involved in drug trafficking.
The woman was advised there was an arrest warrant issued for her, and that in order to clear up the case, she would need to deposit money into a Bitcoin account.
“The scammer used simple technology to make it look like the phone call was coming from the Delta Police Department non-emergency number,” said S/Sgt. Brian Hill, head of one of the DPD patrol divisions. “However, this is a common technique used by criminals.”
Police say the scammer was very convincing and pressured the woman into following his directions, to make multiple bank withdrawals and deposits into Bitcoin ATMs. He remained on the phone with her throughout the withdrawals and deposits.
“The woman was threatened, and told to tell no one what was happening, not even her daughter, who became concerned for her mother and suspicious of what was happening, and called us – the real police,” said Hill. “Please help us spread the word – Canadian police officers will not call and threaten people with arrest, and then tell someone they can avoid arrest by paying in Bitcoin.”
When the daughter contacted the actual DPD, the woman was intercepted on her way to get more money to pay a further $2,000 penalty. Because the money was deposited into a Bitcoin account, there is no way to trace it.
March is Fraud Prevention month. In 2019 alone, Canadians lost more than $98 million to fraud. Fraud awareness is one of the best ways to fight this problem.
The federal government of Canada has some great tips online, including the 2nd edition of the Little Black Book of scams. It’s available in a variety of languages including Chinese, Punjabi and Tagalog. Check the Competition Bureau website at: https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/04333.html.