Victoria police issue warning after man loses $11,000 in CRA, Bitcoin scam

Victoria police issue warning after man loses $11,000 in CRA, Bitcoin scam

Victoria police have issued a warning after a recent CRA and Bitcoin scam. (Kin Cheung/Associated Press)Photo courtesy of CBC.

A man from Victoria “is reeling” after he was conned out of $11,000 Wednesday night by CRA phone scammers who demanded a Bitcoin transfer.

Police said on March 28, the man was contacted by scammers who said they were representatives of the Canada Revenue Agency CRA). They allegedly told the man to go to a Bitcoin ATM machine on Gorge Road East and make a series of transfers. The scammers told the man the transfers would cover the amount he owed, as well as a “deposit” amount to ensure he appeared in court. The man then lost $11,000.

The man was then called by a different scammer who claimed to be a Victoria police officer. Police said this fraudster told the man to go to a bank for additional funds and demanded the man remain on the phone with them while he made the transaction.

A teller at the bank branch recognized a fraud was taking place and intervened. The scammer hung up when they were confronted by the teller.

The man reported the fraud to Victoria police and a Bitcoin agency. However, it is unlikely he will be able to get any of his money back.

Police have issued a warning about the CRA scam. According to VicPD, when scammers call, the Caller ID will often say “Canada Revenue Agency,” “Victoria Police Department” or “911.” The scammers often know or appear to know the potential victim’s name, address and phone number. The call can often last several hours or happen as a series of calls.

The scammers may claim the potential victim owes taxes to the Canada Revenue Agency. They also often claim a judgement has been rendered against the potential victim, a warrant has been issued and officers are making their way to the victim’s home to take him or her into custody.

Victoria police say the scammers will use techniques to create a sense of urgency for the potential victim. These include extremely aggressive language and actions, catastrophic threats that victims will lose their homes, businesses, reputations and place themselves and their family members at risk of imprisonment, long phone calls, or repeated calls with little to no interval in between and refusal to allow the victims to get off the phone.

The CRA will rarely telephone someone and most often contact people via letters. The CRA will not take Bitcoin payments, iTunes cars, gift cards or cash-backed credit cards.

Anyone who thinks they have been contacted by a scammer is asked to hang up the phone as the longer they are on the call, the more likely they are to lose money.

If someone is contacted by another person claiming to be from the CRA, call the CRA back using one of numbers located on this page:

When in doubt, hang up and talk to a loved one, friend or call the Victoria police non-emergency line at 250-995-7654 to run the scenario by police.

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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