A scam that involves callers impersonating police or border officers and demanding payment in Bitcoin in exchange for waiving criminal charges is still hoodwinking Surrey residents, police say.
Surrey RCMP first alerted the public to the scam attempt last June – and sent out a reminder just one month later – and Cpl. Joanie Sidhu told Peace Arch News Friday that the problem calls have persisted, with a few resulting in people paying the money being asked for.
Surrey RCMP issued a social-media reminder Friday morning not to engage with the callers, and to alert police when they happen.
“We do get calls on a regular basis still, sometimes daily,” Sidhu said. “These people are very consistent. It comes in waves.”
We’re still getting reports of the bitcoin #scam where fraudsters threaten to arrest if you don’t pay up. And sadly, some victims are paying. Take the time to speak to a loved one who may be vulnerable to these scams and download our #ScamChecklist https://t.co/cDfWiDemOW pic.twitter.com/6FkpQCDLR6— Surrey RCMP (@SurreyRCMP) January 15, 2021
The social-media notice was not posted due to a new spike in people being duped, Sidhu noted, adding that it was simply a good reminder for people to be vigilant. Surrey RCMP have received a growing number of calls from residents looking to verify that the calls are legit before paying any money, which Sidhu sees as a positive sign.
The RCMP also released its ‘scam checklist’ as a way to help residents identify illicit requests for money. According to the release, signs of a scam include unsolicited phone calls, emails or texts; urgent or threatening language being used; requests for personal information like names, addresses, birth dates, social insurance numbers or banking information; serious unfounded claims such as “you will be arrested” or “A warrant has been issued for your arrest”; and demand for payment by e-transfer, gift cards or online currency such as Bitcoin.
RCMP advise people not to respond to emails or texts and to hang up phone calls immediately.
“Take the time to speak to a loved one who may be vulnerable to these scams,” RCMP advise.
To report a scam to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, call 1-888-495-8501 or visit www.antifraudcentre.ca