Victoria, BC – Officers are warning the public after a Victoria woman was victimized by a scam involving fraudsters who claimed to be members of VicPD.
On August 12th, a Victoria woman contacted officers to report that she was the victim of an impersonation fraud. The woman explained that she was called by a toll-free phone number. An automated message claimed that her social insurance number had been compromised and she was prompted to press a button to speak with a police officer. The man who answered identified himself as an RCMP police officer. The man told the victim that, due to COVID-19, officers would not attend her residence in person. The man questioned the woman about her local police department and learned that it was VicPD. The man then transferred the call to someone else impersonating a VicPD officer. The impersonator provided fake badge numbers to make the scam more convincing.
The VicPD impersonator reported to the victim that her identification was stolen and that her social insurance number was compromised. The victim was instructed to withdrawal money from her bank accounts and deposit it into a bitcoin machine that would transfer the money to the federal government. Once the money was sent, the federal government would confirm a new social insurance number, and then send the money back.
The victim was persuaded to deposit $6,000 into a bitcoin machine.
These fraudsters are often both aggressive and convincing. They will often “spoof” legitimate telephone numbers like those of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and local police departments, including VicPD. They often will not allow their potential victims to hang up or leave the phone call.
VicPD officers will never demand cash to be paid to resolve an incident, nor request funds transferred through bitcoin.
If someone contacts you by telephone claiming to be from VicPD and asks you to pay money to resolve a social insurance number issue or ongoing criminal complaint, hang up. It’s a scam.
What to do if you receive one of these calls and gave out personal information or money:
It is important to act quickly if you’ve received one of these calls and have given out personal information or money. If you are in the process of providing financial information or sending money to potential fraudsters – stop immediately.
Contact your financial institutions and ensure all payments that you have not authorized are stopped. Inform them of the fraud and change both passwords and access information. Please also call our non-emergency number at (250) 995-7654 to report the incident.
What to do if you receive one of these calls, but didn’t give out personal information or money:
You don’t need to report it to us directly.
We encourage you to report the fraud attempt to the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre by calling 1-888-495-8501 or online at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/reportincident-signalerincident/index-eng.htm.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre keeps law enforcement partners across Canada informed about the latest fraud attempts and the best ways to counter them.
For more information on keeping yourself safe from fraud, please visit vicpd.ca/fraud