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Caller posing as cop scams Guelph woman out of $19K using bitcoin

A Bitcoin logo is shown is displayed on an ATM in Hong Kong on December 21, 2017. On Sept. 10, municipal employees in a region between Montreal and Quebec City arrived at work to discover a threatening message on their computers notifying them they were locked out of all their files. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Kin Cheung.
A Bitcoin logo is shown is displayed on an ATM in Hong Kong on December 21, 2017. On Sept. 10, municipal employees in a region between Montreal and Quebec City arrived at work to discover a threatening message on their computers notifying them they were locked out of all their files. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Kin Cheung. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Kin Cheung

Guelph police say a woman has lost $19,000 in a bitcoin scam that started when she received a call on Wednesday from a man claiming to be an officer with the police service.

According to a police statement, the man told the victim that a bank account existed in her name for $1 million.

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“She let the caller know that she didn’t have an account with $1 million. It was explained to her that she must be the victim of identity fraud and that money in her actual bank account was in danger,” according to the Guelph police statement.

The woman was told to empty the account and deposit it into a bitcoin machine inside a store near Wellington and Gordon streets. She then drove around to numerous banks withdrawing money and deposited $19,000 into the bitcoin machine as instructed.

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She was then told that her money would be secured and an officer would contact her on Thursday, but when she didn’t hear back, she called the police.

“[She] was notified that the interaction was a scam and fraudulent in nature,” according to the police statement.
Tips to avoid bitcoin scams
Tips to avoid bitcoin scams

“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.”

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Police are urging residents to be cautious whenever they are contacted by a stranger.

The investigation is now underway and anyone with information is asked to contact police at 519-824-1212 ext. 7417. Anonymous information can be left with Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or through its website.