Phone scammer bilks Delta newcomer of thousands of dollars worth of Bitcoins

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      A newcomer to Canada in Delta lost thousands of dollars she had saved up after she fell victim to a scam.

      According to the Delta Police Department, a woman received a phone call from someone claiming to be a police officer and who was allegedly investigating the woman for money laundering.

      The phone number that appeared on the call display appeared to be from the Department of Services Canada. However, scammers may use apps to make different phone numbers appear than the real one they are using.

      The caller instructed the woman to purchase $6,000 worth of Bitcoins, which she did through a machine in Surrey. She had saved $6,000 after working in a fast food restaurant in Delta for six months.  

      DPD spokesperson Cris Leykauf is reminding citizens that Canadian police officers will never call anyone to demand payment.  

      As scammers sometimes ask for payment with gift cards, the DPD is reminding people that the Canadian government does not ask for payment in Bitcoin or gift cards.

      Unfortunately bitcoin deposits are not traceable, and can be accessed by a fraudster located anywhere in the world. Scammers also often request payment through gift cards as well. Of note, governments in Canada do not ask for payment via bitcoin or gift cards.

      More information about how to protect yourself from phone, email, or internet scams is available at the Government of Canada website and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website.

      Several recent scam phone calls in Vancouver involved callers pretending to be from the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) and made the VPD’s non-emergency line phone number appear on call display.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook