The digital currency Bitcoin has become a favourite of telephone scammers and Coquitlam RCMP wants you to be on alert.
Local Mounties are reporting an uptick in the number of complaints received about fraudsters pretending to be police officers or tax collectors wanting payment in cryptocurrency.
“Scammers will try to instil a sense of urgency and panic in their victims and keep them on the phone through the whole crime, even teaching them how to send Bitcoin,” RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Michael McLaughlin said in a news release today (Sept. 17).
“It may seem like an obvious scam but remember the fraudsters are targeting the elderly, new Canadians and other vulnerable populations. We need to educate our family and friends because if these callers reach them first, the money is most likely unrecoverable.”
While the local police force typically receives one report a month about this sort of scam, the rate has risen to one file per week in September.
Police are reminding people that if you owe money to the Canada Revenue Agency (or any government agency), authorities will never ask for payment in Bitcoin.
To protect yourself from the CRA Bitcoin Scam, you can go to www.canada.ca/taxes-fraud-prevention and/or use these simple tips:
- If you ever get a feeling that you’re being scammed, get off the phone and take a few minutes to think about it.
- If any government agency calls to say you owe money, get their contact information. Consult someone trustworthy before you consider paying any money,
- The CRA will never demand immediate payment in Bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards,
- The CRA never uses text messages or instant messaging to communicate with taxpayers.