A number of people in the Canadian province of Ontario have fallen victim to a Bitcoin scam that the Waterloo Regional Police Service warned recently about, stating that more than CA$430,000 has been lost by victims.
According to a statement from the regional police service, fraudsters have been making telephone calls and falsely claiming to be Service Canada, Service Ontario, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and/or law enforcement agencies.
Reportedly, the scammers have been threatening those who answer the calls, in an attempt to trick victims into fearing they will be arrested. In order to avoid arrest, the scam artists are soliciting payments in Bitcoin.
In some instances, the fraudsters have been informing victims that their Social Insurance Number (SIN) was compromised. Alternatively, the scammers have informed victims that they had outstanding debts owed to the CRA or Service Canada.
Bitcoin Scam Tricks 78 People since January
The Waterloo Regional Police Service states that this scam has been going on since at least 1st January 2020. This time, 78 people have fallen victim to the BTC scam in the Waterloo region. These victims have been tricked out of more than CA$430,000 (US$326,649.50), with 29 victims being scammed in July alone.
“During the scam, victims are commonly asked to verify personal and financial information, including their social insurance number, ” Waterloo Regional Police Service explains in its warning posted on Thursday.
“Victims are then directed to attend their banking institution, make a withdrawal, and attend a specific address to make a bitcoin transaction using a specific QR code. The fraudster will attempt to keep the victim on the phone and, in some instances, direct the victim to attend several different bitcoin locations to make deposits.”
In its warning on Thursday, the Police Service highlights that accredited businesses, government and law enforcement agencies will not accept bitcoin as payment, negotiate payments over the phone nor call and ask for personal information whilst threatening arrest if you do not comply.