A Victoria woman lost $2,500 after being scammed by fraudsters impersonating the Victoria Police Department.
On July 3, VicPD received a report from a resident who’d fallen victim to a phone scam and transferred $2,500 to a fraudster.
The victim told police she’d gotten a call from a man claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The caller said someone in another country had used the woman’s personal information to rent a car and asked her to identify the closest police department.
Next, the woman received a call from what appeared to be the VicPD non-emergency number, as it appeared on her call display. This male caller claimed to be an officer and convinced the woman that her bank accounts would be frozen for up to a year unless she sent money. The woman transferred $2,500 to the scammer through a bitcoin machine.
VicPD is warning residents to be wary of these types of phone scams which can be “aggressive and convincing.” Officers said fraudsters are able to spoof real phone numbers, making it appear as though the CRA or local police departments are calling.
Fraudsters spoofing police phone numbers have been an issue throughout the region. At the end of June, both the Saanich and Central Saanich police departments issued warnings after receiving several reports of scammers spoofing the departments’ non-emergency numbers.
Police emphasized that officers will never demand money or Bitcoin transfers, so if someone calls claiming to be from VicPD and asks for cash, hang up.
Anyone who falls victim to a scam of this nature and provides the caller with personal information or money is reminded to take swift action. VicPD recommends calling your financial institution to stop unauthorized payments, inform them of the fraud and change all passwords and other access information. The incident should also be reported to police via the VicPD non-emergency line 250-995-7654.
Those who receive a scam call but don’t reveal personal information or send money don’t need to contact police but VicPD recommends reporting the attempted fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by calling 1-888-495-8501 or online at antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.