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Nanaimo police issue warning after three people fall victim to computer scams

Nanaimo RCMP is urging residents to be extra cautious online after three people were scammed via their computers this month.
RCMP
Canada’s information commissioner says the RCMP’s access to information system is in critical shape and cannot respond to Canadians needs

Nanaimo RCMP is urging residents to be extra cautious online after three people were scammed via their computers this month.

A man in his thirties is out $5,000 after he was targeted with a Bitcoin scam through the WhatsApp social media site, police said Friday.

The man was contacted by someone he thought was an old friend alerting him to an investment opportunity.

He was told he had to pay a nearly $5,000 service fee to invest. He provided his banking information and was told he would be paying an exchange rate.

The financial transaction was carried out via the digital currency Bitcoin.

The man became worried after sending off his money, but because financial transactions using Bitcoin are untraceable, he was not able to recoup his losses, RCMP said.

Meanwhile, a woman in her seventies was conned into handing over credit card information and driver’s licence details after a notice appeared on her laptop warning that her computer’s IP address had been compromised. An IP address is a number identifying a computer to a network on the Internet.

She was told to call a number for technical help and did so. In a two-hour conversation, she was convinced to provide her credit card to supposedly remove viruses from the computer.

Her credit card was charged $300.

The woman realized she had been scammed, cancelled her credit card and notified her bank.

In another instance, a senior was contacted by a friend on Facebook telling her that if she bought gift cards, she would receive money from a non-profit society. She spent $2,000 using several credit cards before learning that her friend’s Facebook account had been hacked.

Scammers will often ask for gift-card numbers and codes to activate cards and use them like cash, police said.

The woman contacted her bank and will be reimbursed.

Nanaimo RCMP Const. Gary O’Brien advised going to the Canadian Anti- Fraud Centre website to stay up to date on current scams. https://antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/report-signalez-eng.htm

cjwilson@timescolonist.com