Fraudsters pretend to be police officers, demand cash

Victoria police have issued a fraud alert after a woman was victimized by scammers purporting to be VicPD members.

The woman reported the fraud on July 3, saying she was first contacted by a man with a phone number similar to that of the Canada Revenue Agency.

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She was told that her personal information had been stolen and used to rent a car in another country.

At that point she was asked to name her closest police department, which was the Victoria Police Department. She then got a call that appeared to be from the non-emergency line for Victoria police.

The man on the line said he was a police officer and told the woman that her bank accounts would be frozen for up to 12 months if she didn’t send money. She was persuaded to withdraw $2,500, then go to a bitcoin machine and transfer the funds.

Police described the fraudsters as “aggressive and convincing” and said such people often “spoof” legitimate phone numbers.

They said officers will never demand that cash be paid to deal with an incident and never ask for funds to be transferred via bitcoin.

Hanging up is the best thing to do.

Similar frauds have been attempted lately with calls that appeared to be from Saanich and Central Saanich police.

Those who believe they have given out personal information or sent money to a scammer should contact their financial institution and ask for all unauthorized charges or access be stopped, then call their local police department’s non-emergency line and report the scam.

If you have received such a call, but have not given out personal information or sent money, report the attempted fraud to the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

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