The Vancouver Police Department is warning the public that phone fraudsters have now found a clever new way of deceiving citizens. The VPD phone scam fraudsters are using spoofing and pretending to be police officers by displaying the VPD non-emergency number. Fraudsters pretending to be police officers on the phone are demanding Bitcoin or gift cards to pay fake debts. Vancouver Police have received several reports of scammers calling Vancouver residents and then representing themselves falsely as members of the VPD.
“Everybody can be a target to this…I guess you can classify it as a millennial group, anybody under 40 years old, that’s what we’ve seen over the past month,” said Sergeant Aaron Roed in a phone interview with Narcity Media.
While the CRA scam has been going on for years, advances in technology have made it even more difficult to track down these fraudsters, according to Sergeant Roed.
Here’s how the scam works: fraudsters call potential victims and pretend they’re representative from the CRA, and ask citizens to look up and provide the number for their local police department.
The scammers hang up and the victims receive another call, from a person pretending to be a police officer. Most shocking of all, the number on the call display is the VPD non-emergency line. This confusion leads to potential victims.
The fraudster then provides a fake badge number and states that the victim’s social insurance number has been used to create credit card accounts with substantial balances owing.
Vancouver Police are warning the public about a new element to an existing telephone scam where fraudsters use spoo… https://t.co/5vCZ087MAJ— Vancouver Police (@Vancouver Police)1571325692.0
After this, the victim is told they are responsible for the debt and are told to clear the balance by providing Bitcoin or gift cards.
“What we can do as a police department is educate and inform people. There is, unfortunately, not a lot we can do in regards to charges,” said Sergeant Roed.
Fraud Alert: Some Vancouver residents have received phone calls from scammers claiming to be police officers, or ca… https://t.co/03yZyiyFte— Vancouver Police (@Vancouver Police)1570828870.0
“This is an international group of people, and for us to track them down is very difficult. But at least if people are educated that these scams are out there and they are very prevalent…Hang up, call your police and notify us,” continued Sergeant Roed.
If you suspect that you have been the victim of fraud, then you can contact the VPD at 604-717-3321 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Plus, scams can be reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.