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Police warn of fraudulent Bitcoin letter circulating

Feb. 3, 2021 – British Columbia police are warning the public about a threatening letter scam occurring in the Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam areas over the past week. The letter requests the receiver of the letter to send Bitcoin by scanning a QR Code at the bottom of the letter before bad things happen to them. In some instances a loose white powder has been found in the letter.

Since Jan. 25, Coquitlam RCMP have received numerous reports and are currently investigating the letters with the help of Canada Post. The letter threatened recipients of hiding fentanyl in Amazon packages and included death and property threats if the recipient did not send 0.05 bitcoin.

Coquitlam RCMP believes this letter to be a mass production sent to multiple addresses, as all letters appear identical. None have resulted in anyone being harmed from the white powder, but police are suggesting people do the following, should they receive a letter containing the substance:

  • Immediately put the letter, envelope and contents in a sealable bag, either a sandwich bag or freezer bag
  • Sanitize the area where you opened the letter
  • Wash you hands
  • Inform police

Fraudsters often attempt to pass themselves off as someone in authority,” Const. Deanna Law, Coquitlam RCMP media relations officer wrote in their press release. “They may impersonate a police officer or an employee of a business, financial institution or government agency. Fraudsters use a variety of tactics, but their ultimate goal is the same-to take your money.”

Signs of a scam include:

  • Unsolicited phone call, email, text or letter
  • Urgent or threatening language
  • Request for personal information such as name, address, birthdate, social insurance number, credit card or banking information
  • Serious unfounded claims such as: You will be arrested, A warrant has been issued for your arrest, You will be deported, Threatening you well being
  • Demand for payment by e-transfer, pre-paid credit cards, gift cards, or online currency (i.e. Bitcoin)

Whether you made a payment or not, report scams to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or www.antifraudcentre.ca. If you made a payment, contact your financial institution that transferred the money, and report the incident to your local police.