Date: Friday, March 5, 2021
Victoria, BC – VicPD investigators are warning the public after fraudsters, claiming to be VicPD officers, stole $1,700 from a victim in a sophisticated “Canada Revenue Agency Scam” (CRA Scam) involving bitcoin, number spoofing, impersonation and the use of “voice over IP” calling.
The victim reported to officers that they had received a legitimate notice in the mail from the Canada Revenue Agency regarding their taxes. In an unfortunate coincidence, the victim then received a phone call from a number listed as the VicPD non-emergency line on their call display. Upon answering the call, the victim spoke with a fraudster who impersonated a VicPD officer and claimed the victim was about to be arrested on fraud charges related to their tax account. Having “spoofed” the VicPD number for their “voice over IP” call, the fraudster went as far as to suggest the victim Google the number from which the fraudster was calling to verify that the call was legitimate.
Number “spoofing” is a tactic that cybercriminals use to trick your call display into impersonating a legitimate number and authority. VicPD officers and staff have received CRA scam-style calls with our non-emergency number displayed on our own call displays at our desks. The use of “voice over IP” calling and artificial intelligence automates number spoofing making it easier for professional fraudsters to target their victims.
Convinced the call was legitimate, the victim was then skillfully tricked into revealing personal information, and then manipulated into purchasing $1,700 in bitcoin to pay a non-existent fine. The fraudster convinced the victim through a combination of threats and promises to share the bitcoin QR code with them. It was then the victim realized they had fallen victim to professional fraudsters.
While investigators are continuing their work on this file, it is unlikely the victim’s money will be recovered.
How to protect yourself | VicPD officers will never contact you by phone and demand you pay money, especially to avoid jail time. VicPD and other local police departments do not collect fines on behalf of the Canada Revenue Agency. If during a call someone asks you to Google the number on your call display to verify the call is legitimate, instead offer to call them back after looking up the number yourself. If someone demands you pay a fine in bitcoin, do not. It is a scam.
You can learn more about how to protect yourself, your family and your organization from fraud by visiting vicpd.ca/fraud. If you have fallen victim to a fraud, stop payment immediately, contact your financial institution and call our Report Desk at (250) 995-7654 extension 1.
If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of an attempted fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or report online at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.