B.C. RCMP warn against several scams involving fake police calls, and demand for payment in gold or in cryptocurrencies.
CRA scams are back, Mounties warned Thursday after reports of fraudsters targeting Vancouver Island residents.
Nanaimo RCMP is advising the public to be on guard, although there have been no claims made involving victims.
In this latest version of the infamous CRA scam, the target receives a phone call from an alleged federal government agency, such as Service Canada or the Canada Revenue Agency. The caller claims the target’s SIN card has been compromised, and asks for the actual card number.
“It is a scam,” Mounties said in a news release. “Simply hang up.”
Another version has callers claiming that targets owe money to the CRA, and should expect a call from the police. The ensuing call is not actually from the police. The scammers may then threaten arrest and attempt to convince targets to provide a credit card number, or instruct them to purchase gift cards or bitcoins.
This too is a scam, said Nanaimo RCMP. Hang up.
Bitcoin also factors into a scam that Coquitlam Mounties warned about Friday, in which scammers claiming to be CRA agents or police will say that targets owe money and can make a payment in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
“We’ve even had criminals claiming to be local RCMP,” said Cpl. Michael McLaughlin. “The best advice I can give is to get the basic details and then hang up. Take a few minutes to breathe, then talk to someone you trust before you do anything.”
Coquitlam RCMP remind the public: not to send money in any form to someone you don’t know; that you cannot be arrested in Canada for late payment of any kind; and if a government agency won’t let you call back later, it’s a shakedown. Hang up.
McLaughlin added that Coquitlam Mounties have seen 14 cases of telephone fraud involving Bitcoin in the last three months alone, with total losses approaching $70,000.
“This message needs to reach outside of your usual circle,” he said. “Have a conversation with your elderly relatives, your friends and young adult new Canadians who might be vulnerable to these scams.”
But while some scammers are exploiting peoples’ lack of knowledge regarding cryptocurrency, other scammers are working with a much older currency: gold.
Richmond Mounties warned Thursday about a possible return of the Chinese gold scam, in which fraudsters claim to have unearthed buried treasure, and now need assistance selling it.
The buried treasure is often described as full of gold or as solid gold Buddha statues, along with a hand-written note.
These scammers have been known to undertake online research to target people thought to be well-off. They call the target and arrange for the gold to be inspected in a face-to-face meeting before attempting to trade it for cash.
The Richmond RCMP says this scheme that has been ongoing since 2010. Mounties have issued a warning specifically for Mandarin speakers, who are often targeted.
Anyone who may have been compromised should contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre toll-free at 1-888-495-8501.
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