An elaborate telephone scam in which a person was conned into making what they thought was a government payment in bitcoin was reported to Salmon Arm RCMP.
In description of the scam, police said callers picked up their phones to hear a recorded message claiming their social insurance number would be cancelled if they did not press “1.” One local person did press 1 and was told by a man posing as a CRA agent that their social insurance number was used to open 25 illegal bank accounts.
After the scam victim denied any knowledge of the bank accounts they were transferred to someone posing as an RCMP officer who repeated the claims and referred them back to the false CRA agent.
According to a notice provided by Salmon Arm RCMP, the call from the fake police officer was made more convincing by the fact they “spoofed” or impersonated the number of the local detachment, causing it to appear in the victim’s call display.
The scammers then told the victim to drive to the bank and take out all the money they could before using a local bitcoin ATM to send it to a “government safety deposit box.” The fraud victim reported the incident to police and was told to discontinue any transactions. The Salmon Arm RCMP advised anyone who is targeted by this scam to contact the local RCMP detachment either by phone or in person.
Police stressed the federal government does not cancel social insurance numbers or accept payment in bitcoin. RCMP also noted most of these scams come from other countries, and the scammers often, but not always, speak with a strong accent. The CRA does not immediately threaten to arrest people and does not have “magistrates” or “bench code agents,” as the scammers have identified themselves over the phone.