Waterloo Region Victim to Bitcoin Scams
KWMotion, April 16th
On May 12, 2021, Waterloo Regional Police received a report of a fraud involving a Bitcoin scam.
The victim advised that they received a phone call from someone who stated that they were a police officer and their Social Insurance Number (SIN) had been used in a black market crime. The victim was also told that they would face serious criminal charges if they did not do what they were instructed to.
The victim was told that all of the money from their bank accounts was going to be taken because of the black market crime, and to protect their money, they would need to withdraw all of it.
The victim was instructed to attend a bank and withdraw their money from their account. Further, the fraudsters told the victim not to speak with anyone, and they would remain on the phone with the victim while they completed the withdrawal.
After the victim had completed the transaction, they were instructed to deposit the money into a Bitcoin ATM, and the victim would receive their money the next day by cheque.
The victim later realized that they had fallen victim to a scam.
In 2020, 120 residents of the Waterloo Region fell victim to bitcoin scams, amounting over $700,000 in total. The scams generally consist of fraudsters extorting Bitcoin payments by posing as a government workers, revenue/law enforcement agents, or immigration officials.
Police provided one instance of an 18-year-old woman receiving a call identifying as a law enforcement officer threatening imprisonment unless money was sent. The victim withdrew $20,000 from her bank and made a deposit at a Bitcoin machine in Waterloo before then being instructed to go back and make another withdrawal.
Another instance details a 22-year-old man receiving a call from what he thought was Waterloo regional police’s non-emergency number. The fraudster made reference to personal information about the victim, including a reference to the Canadian Immigration Office.
The victim made a $3,900 deposit at a Bitcoin machine in Waterloo before they were asked to pay a lawyer fee of $1,800.
These scams are common in our surrounding region, last month Stratford police were investigating a Bitcoin fraud in which the victim allegedly lost around $348,000.