Scammer bilks B.C. woman out of $10K for $700 cellphone: police

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A woman in B.C.’s Southern Interior was bilked out of $10,000, say police.

Salmon Arm RCMP say a local resident fell prey to a scammer who was pretending to be a fraud investigator.

The caller contacted the woman on Feb. 22, at 6 a.m., saying that her payment towards a $700 cellphone did not go through.

He provided instructions on how to pay, with the victim falling into the trap and sending $10,000 in Bitcoin via an ATM.

“The victim stated the caller had a thick accent,” said police. “Calls back to the phone number went unanswered.”

In today’s modern world, phone scams are a cruel fact of life. For example, Surrey RCMP issued a press release on Thursday saying its officers responded to 229 local reports of fraud in 2023, with total losses exceeding $12 million to local residents.

“The majority of frauds were related to investment scams,” said Surrey RCMP, noting they have already received 50 reports of fraud involving cryptocurrency in January and February.

In these scams, victims were introduced to cryptocurrency-related investments via social media, phone calls, online advertisements, and online dating platforms.”

According to the federal government, $554 million was lost to fraud across the nation in 2023, up from $531 million in 2022.

Salmon Arm RCMP said people should be very cautious when receiving calls from an unknown person who’s requesting money.

“If you receive a phone call from anyone claiming you owe them money, police recommend hanging up immediately,” said the RCMP.

“If you want to check if you owe money, call the business directly by calling a phone number obtained from a safe source such as the official business website, or a phone book.”

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