The local police department in a Canadian town is sounding the alarm over a bitcoin (BTC)-related scam that sees criminals impersonate government officials and call unsuspecting residents to tell them to deposit money into a “bitcoin machine.”
The scam, first reported by local news outlet The Sherwood Park News, has so far duped two victims into depositing a combined sum of CAD 21,000 (USD 15,500) into bitcoin kiosks by threatening to arrest the victims if they did not comply.
According to the article, the scammer in the first instance said he was an officer from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), while in the other instance the individual pretended he worked for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the country’s tax authority.
In the case of the fake police officer, the scammer reportedly told the victim that his social security number had been compromised, and that there were several pending fraud allegations against him. If the victim complied, however, everything would be sorted out and he would not be arrested.
The particular scam has so far only been reported in Strathcona County, located outside Edmonton in the Canadian province of Alberta.
According to the article, one of the victims lost CAD 12,000 (USD 8,850) as a result of the scam, and the police is now warning others against falling victim to the same scammers:
“There is no circumstance where police will contact individuals requesting bitcoin,” Cst. Chantelle Kelly with the Strathcona County RCMP said in a comment.
Kelly added that “scammers typically contact hundreds of people hoping someone will send them money.”
Indeed, this is far from the first time scammers impersonated government officials in Canada in order to get their hands on bitcoin.
The same thing also happened in October last year, when scammers impersonating officers from the Canada Revenue Agency threatened people with accusations of various financial wrongdoings, while demanding thousands of dollars in bitcoin for dropping the case, CBC reported.