One month after warning of a scam involving individuals impersonating police or border officers demanding payment in exchange for waiving criminal charges, Surrey RCMP say the problem has not diminished.
“We are still regularly receiving reports of those and in some situations, the victims have actually sent money,” Cpl. Joanie Sidhu said Thursday (July 9).
“It’s almost daily that we’re receiving reports.”
On June 10, police issued a news release after receiving five reports from people saying an RCMP or Canada Border Services Agency officer had asked for a Bitcoin payment to address charges.
Monday (July 6), they tweeted a reminder, including a heads-up that some of the scammers have also taken to spoofing the detachment’s non-emergency number.
Did you receive a call from "Officer Marshall" claiming to be with the Surrey RCMP or CBSA, demanding payment in Bitcoin for supposed crimes? #ScamAlert and heads up they’re sometimes spoofing our non-emergency number. pic.twitter.com/UGYrPzAYau
— Surrey RCMP (@SurreyRCMP) July 6, 2020
Sidhu on Thursday would not disclose exactly how much victims who fell for the scam had lost, citing the ongoing investigation, but said in some cases, the value was “in the thousands.”
Many victims were people who are new to Canada and unfamiliar with how police here operate, she noted, adding that the Mounties’ Diversity Unit is “coming up with ways to reach out to those communities and educate them,” in an effort to curb that trend.
She emphasized that “in no circumstances will police call you and ask for any amount of money or Bitcoin.”
“Whatever awareness we can raise on this, we’d like to. It’s terrible,” she said.
Anyone who receives this type of call is asked to report the incident to the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502. To make an anonymous report, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or www.solvecrime.ca
It’s also recommended that such calls be reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, at 1-888-495-8501.