Guelph police warn against phone fraudsters using bitcoin scam

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Guelph (March 24, 2020) – A Guelph woman lost $19,000 to a bitcoin scam. Guelph police reported that the victim was called by a spoofed number, on March 18. The caller posed as a police officer on the phone and instructed her to deposit $19,000 into a local Bitcoin machine. Already earlier this month, a man from Guelph fell prey to a phone fraudster. He was directed to purchase gift cards for a total of $2,000. The investigations for both incidents are currently ongoing.

Phone fraudsters victimized two Guelph residents during this month, the police reported. A Guelph woman lost $19,000 during a scam call according to a press release of the Guelph police. The rogues tricked her into emptying her bank account and depositing her money into a local bitcoin machine. Earlier this month, a Guelph man fell prey to a phone fraudster while purchasing gift cards for a total of $2,000.

Woman lost $19,000 to bitcoin scam

On March 18, a Guelph woman received a phone call from a spoofed number. The police release said that the caller ID was reading ‘Guelph Police’. The male caller identified himself as a police officer on the phone. At first, he posed questions about an alleged bank account in her name with $1,000,000 and ‘wanted to know what her wishes were with the money.’ The woman responded that she did not have an account with $1,000,000.

Thereafter, the fake police officer explained to her that she must be a victim of identity fraud and that the money in her actual bank account was in danger.

Alarmed by the serious allegations, she followed the instructions of the bogus caller, she thought was a police officer, and emptied her bank account by driving to numerous bank branches. She gathered $19,000 which she deposited into a local Bitcoin machine in Guelph as the phone fraudster instructed her.

Read more: Authorities warn against prevalent bitcoin scams

‘She was told that her money would then be secured and an officer would contact her on March 19th [the previous day] to provide her with a cheque for the money,’ police said in the press release. However, the victim did not hear from ‘an officer’ on the following day. Consequently, she contacted the police and was notified that the call was a scam.

Man hit by gift card fraud

Earlier this month, the Guelph police reported about another phone scam. A 62-year-old man received a phone call from someone pretending to be with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The bogus Mountie claimed to be investigating a bank for counterfeit money and needed the male’s assistance.

The victim was directed by the caller to purchase gift cards worth $2,000 and provide the suspect with the codes. After that, he was instructed to mail $8,800 which he withdrew from his bank account to a fictitious RCMP lab for analysis.

The scammers did not stop there and asked the Guelph man to buy another batch of gift cards. However, this time a store employee advised him that he was most likely falling prey to a gift card fraud.

Warning against phone scams

The investigations for both incidents are still ongoing. The Guelph Police reminded the public in their press release to be very cautious whenever they are contacted by a stranger and ‘that a police service will never contact a member of the public to purchase bitcoin, gift cards or send money in any way in order to assist with an investigation.’

Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to contact the Guelph police or crime stoppers.