Brazen Bitcoin Scam Sees Victim Hand Over $7,500 to ‘Police’
An all-too-familiar Bitcoin scam, that honestly seems far too brazen to actually succeed, has netted those behind it a cool $7,500 from a single victim. The scheme involves the scammers impersonating law enforcement officials over the telephone.
Scammers threaten prosecution for some fictional crime. They offer a way out, however – a payment in Bitcoin.
Canadian Woman Duped Out of $7,500
According to a statement by the Delta Police Department, scammers working a well-tested scheme received a rather large payday yesterday. The victim was a woman from the city of Delta in British Colombia.
A scammer pretending to be a Delta Police officer yesterday convinced a woman to deposit more than $10,000 in Bitcoin. Pls RT – Police WILL NOT call and threaten people with arrest, and then tell someone they can avoid arrest by paying in Bitcoin. https://t.co/Vl4y620HeE pic.twitter.com/bax44H1VEq
— Delta Police (@deltapolice) March 5, 2020
The report states that the woman had received a phone call from someone claiming to be from Service Canada – a provider of social services and benefits in the nation. They instructed her to deposit more than C$10,000 (US$7,500) to Bitcoin addresses on March 4, which she did.
The caller told the woman that the agency had flagged her Social Security Number. They claimed it had been associated with drug trafficking.
After being told that there was an arrest warrant out for her, the scammer said she could avoid prosecution by paying. A clear red flag probably should have been the fact that the scammer asked for payment in Bitcoin.
Convinced by the call, the woman proceeded to make several withdrawals from her bank account. It was not until her daughter cottoned on what was going on that she decided to investigate.
After she alerted the real police to what was going on, they managed to intercept the victim. She was on her way to transfer a further C$2,000 via a Bitcoin ATM.
Staff Sergeant Brian Hill of the Delta Police Department urged the Delta City community to help protect others by telling them about the scam:
“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.”
Bitcoin Scam More Effective than You’d Think
To those who follow cryptocurrency, the notion of a government entity requesting any payment in Bitcoin is beyond far fetched. Although many readers would surely love to see a day when such payments do require Bitcoin, it’s a long way from the case for now.
Of course, scammers prey on the more vulnerable members of society – often the elderly. Tricks like spoofing a number to look like it comes from the police department – as in the above case – seem a lot more convincing to chosen victims. In fact, NewsBTC reported last year that similar scams had netted those behind them over $2 million.