Red Deer, Alta. – A warning sign posted by the RCMP on a local Bitcoin ATM may have prevented a man from becoming a victim of fraud and losing $90,000.
On July 3, 2020, RCMP initiated an investigation into a phone scam incident. The victim had received a phone call from scammers pretending to be from the CRA and RCMP. The scammers fabricated a story to the victim that his identity had been compromised and his identity was involved in money laundering. The scammers led the victim to believe that to protect his money, he would need to deposit his money into a Bitcoin account; which was actually controlled by the scammer. The victim went to the Bitcoin machine as instructed by the scammer, but the RCMP warning poster and the vigilance of an employee at the business prevented the victim from completing the transaction.
“These are not small crimes; people are losing their life savings to these scams,” said Cst. Andrew Devine. “No government agency, the RCMP, nor any reputable business will ever call you and demand a payment through Bitcoin for any reason.”
Bitcoins are an unsecured and non-refundable form of cryptocurrency or “virtual” currency. They are not issued or guaranteed by any bank or government and are not considered legal tender in Canada. The Red Deer RCMP have started an initiative to post warnings on Bitcoin ATMs across the province, warning users of the potential for fraud.
“The more awareness we can spread about the risks associated with using Bitcoins, the better,” says Cst. Devine. “In this particular case, the gentleman was just seconds away from losing his life savings. Fortunately, the warning poster and the business employee intervened and prevented the irreversible transaction.”
For more information on the latest frauds affecting Canadians by mail, email, phone or in-person, visit the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre website.
Red Deer RCMP