The efforts of fraudsters and scam artists continue unabated, and as they phone unsuspecting people claiming to be the taxman, police and other officials, the real police are issuing a detailed warning.
RCMP K Division spokesperson Cpl. Laurel Scott stated in a Jan. 16 press release, fraudsters are demanding money in the form of cryto-currency or “bitcoin.”
“In an effort to stop victims of fraud from making bitcoin payments, the RCMP has launched an initiative that will see posters with warnings placed in rural locations,” stated Scott.
“Scams continue to be prevalent throughout the province, primarily scams where culprits are representing themselves as agents from a government organization and requesting payment in Bitcoin.
“To assist citizens throughout Alberta, posters have been created by the RCMP – Strategic Communications New Media team. The posters are very clear with warnings, including: “STOP – DO NOT use this Bitcoin machine if you are not in control of the QR Code you scan.”
“We felt that we needed to take one more step in educating potential victims and stopping them from making that irretrievable payment,” says S. Sgt. Rob Marsollier of Red Deer RCMP detachment. “We know that Edmonton Police Service has done similar posters and if it stops even one person from losing their savings, then it’s a success.”
Scott added, “With cooperation from the businesses hosting the bitcoin machines, the posters will be put up throughout Alberta in the near future.”
It can be difficult to explain exactly what Bitcoin is. Generally, it’s an online currency that can be traded directly between users, without a bank or administrator involved.
Remember, the Canada Revenue Agency, the RCMP and other government agencies don’t demand payment over the phone in Bitcoin or Apple iTunes cards. If a fraudster phones you impersonating these agencies, simply hang up.