Canadian Authorities Dealing With Bitcoin Phone Scams
July 29, 2020
There have been reports of several Bitcoin phone scams taking place across Alberta in recent weeks. The RCMP have now reported a spike in similar cases in Burnaby, BC.
Canadian Bitcoin Scams
In Red Deer, a man narrowly avoided depositing his life savings of $90,000 into a Bitcoin ATM, which would have been transferred directly into a fraudster’s crypto wallet. The man had been phoned directly by scammers claiming to be from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canada Revenue Agency.
Luckily for him, he saw a warning poster relating to crypto scams on the ATM. Staff members at the location were then able to offer him advice before any transaction was confirmed. The money would have been impossible to retrieve once the transaction was issued through the blockchain.
Two more Alberta residents were not so lucky. One man was fooled by a scam just like the one above and deposited $12,000 into a Bitcoin ATM. In this case, the scammers, in their assumed “official” capacity threatened the victim with arrest if he didn’t comply.
In the second case, a victim lost $21,000 when a caller claiming to be from the RCMP told him his social insurance number had been exposed. The money was deposited into a Bitcoin ATM for supposed safekeeping while (completely falsified) fraud allegations were looked into.
As these cases of Canadians being scammed were reported nationwide, the RCMP in Burnaby have reported a steady rise in crypto phone scams as well.
Use a Trusted Canadian Exchange
These cases may be outliers which get attention because they sound exceptional given the amount of money at stake. It’s likely the scammers tried this with a massive string of people before finally persuading someone to take action. It’s easy to say it would never happen to you, but scammers can be highly convincing in their manipulations.
In the crypto space, you will often be bombarded with cold inquiries from strangers who want to do business with you. Stay vigilant when people in this sphere approach you with offers. Check their identity, if they have a genuine presence online to back up who they are, and if they work with reputable organizations. Call their company to confirm who they are using the official registered number. However, if you’re new to cryptocurrencies, it’s best to say thank you but no thank you altogether until you are more experienced within the space.
Always keep in mind that the Police, RCMP, government authorities and the vast majority of businesses will never demand payments in Bitcoin for any purpose. There are some places to spend Bitcoin in Canada, but these are basic transactions. As Bitcoin is not widely adopted in Canada, it is not used as a currency in official capacities as yet. Read our piece on other crypto and Bitcoin scams you should look out for and always buy and sell Bitcoin through a trusted Canadian exchange.
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