The Victoria Police Department has issued a public warning following a fraudulent incident where a Victoria woman was scammed by people claiming to be members of VicPD.
On July 3, police said that a woman reported she was the victim of an elaborate scam that involved being contacted by a man from a phone number similar to that of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
In the report filed by the woman, she said scammers claimed to be from the CRA and advised the victim that her personal information had been used to rent a car in another country. While on the phone, the man asked her to identify the nearest police department, which turned out to be VicPD.
The police report said the woman then received a phone call, which her display indicated was from the VicPD non-emergency line at 250-995-7654.
The man on the phone this time claimed to be a police officer and told the victim that her bank accounts would be “frozen” for six to twelve months if she did not send money.
The scammer then successfully persuaded the victim to withdraw $2,500, attend a bitcoin machine and transfer the funds.
“These fraudsters are often both aggressive and convincing. They will often “spoof” legitimate telephone numbers like those of the CRA, and local police departments, including VicPD. They often will not allow their potential victims to hang up or leave the phone call,” reads a statement issued by Victoria Police.
Police highlighted they will never demand cash to be paid to resolve an incident and they will never request funds to be transferred through bitcoin.
According to Victoria Police, scammers have recently attempted a similar fraud while trying to impersonate the Saanich Police and Central Saanich Police.
“If someone contacts you by telephone claiming to be from VicPD and asks you to pay money to resolve an ongoing criminal complaint, hang up. It’s a scam,” Victoria Police added in their statement.
The Victoria Police Department is recommending that if you have given out personal information or money, contact your financial institutions immediately and ensure all unauthorized payments are stopped.
Anyone who has received a call of this nature is asked to report it to the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre by calling 1-888-495-8501 or online at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/reportincident-signalerincident/index-eng.htm.