NORFOLK COUNTY – During the COVID-19 pandemic, scam artists are going the extra length to victimize people. It is important right now with so many people feeling the added stresses of today, to keep focused that telephone calls from government or police are not going to be demanding you send them bitcoin, gift cards or money transfers.
Often these scam artists, who practice and hone their frauds carefully to target their victims can sound very professional. The first step you should take at any time you get one of these types of phone calls is to doubt their authenticity. Protect yourself, and your hard-earned money.
On Thursday, November 19, 2020, at approximately 6:29 pm EST, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Norfolk County Detachment investigated a bitcoin scam at a Norfolk County address.
It was determined that the victim received a call from an individual claiming to be with Ontario Services and that there was a problem with their Social Insurance Number (SIN). The caller asked for the entire SIN number and became upset when the victim failed to provide the information.
The unknown caller then indicated that the police would be contacting them to discuss this incident in further detail.
The victim immediately received a call from a person claiming they were a police officer with the Ontario Provincial Police named officer Marshall with badge number 417J2977. The number on their call display indicated that they were calling from 519-426-3434 which is in fact the OPP Detachment located on Queensway West in Simcoe.
During the course of the conversation, the victim felt threatened and attended a bitcoin machine located in the London area and sent approximately $13,000. The victim soon realized that this was in fact a scam and contacted police.
The Norfolk County OPP is urging everyone to be vigilant and to be aware that scammers are using call spoofing technology which means that the scammer program the call display to show the OPP’s detachment number of 519-426-3434 or the non-emergency number of 1-888-310-1122. In some cases the call display may read “Ontario Provincial Police”.
These scam artists are using technology to attempt to fool their victims.
The fact is police will not ask for this type of information over the phone or make a request for any money, and the OPP would like to remind everyone to verify the legitimacy of any caller before providing any personal information over the phone.
Bitcoin is a type of digital money or cryptocurrency. Scammers may also ask victims to wire them money or demand payment through gift cards.
Some Common Bitcoin Scams
Extortion – A scammer may send you a message or call you indicating they have hacked into your computer and now they have remote access to your computer. The scammer provides you with two options – send them Bitcoin to suppress the material or send nothing and the content will be sent to your email contacts and spread across your social networks.
Impersonation – The scammer may indicate they work for a government agency such as the Canada Revenue Agency, a police service, bank or private investigation company in an attempt to gain your trust. Once they have it, they will request you send money to “secure your account” or “monitor fraudulent” transactions.
Bogus Investment and Business Opportunities – Someone might offer you investment and business opportunities that promise to make you big money, or give you financial freedom. But remember, there are no guarantees you will make money in dollars or cryptocurrency.
Free Giveaways – Due to the viral nature of how information spreads across the internet, scammers seek to take advantage of people by offering free giveaways of bitcoin or other digital currencies in exchange for sending a small amount to register or by providing some personal information. When you see this on a website or social network, it’s best to immediately report the content as fraudulent.
Pump and Dumps – Do not trust people who entice you or others to invest because they claim that they know what the Bitcoin price is going to be. In a pump and dump scheme, a person tries to artificially drive up or pump the price so that they can dump their holdings for a profit.
The OPP is asking you to verify any unsolicited contacts before you take any action. Sending money, gift cards or bitcoins to strangers is simply not worth the risk.
Anyone interested in more information on fraud can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at http://www.antifraudcentre.ca/.