3rd bitcoin scam in Guelph this month costs woman $2,400

Click to play video: 'Grocery store owner takes action as Bitcoin machine used repeatedly to pay scammers' Grocery store owner takes action as Bitcoin machine used repeatedly to pay scammers
"As soon as we see someone and they're on their cell phone, we always sort of interject." Employees at the grocery store with the Bitcoin machine say it's happening as many as half a dozen times a week; customers paying thousands of dollars to scammers. Global's Marney Blunt reports – Jun 17, 2020

Guelph police say another resident has fallen victim to a Bitcoin scam that targeted two other residents this month.

A woman received a call from someone claiming to be a government employee and was told there was a warrant out for her arrest because her social insurance number was connected to money laundering and drug-related crimes.

Read more: $90K Bitcoin scam in Red Deer prevented by warning poster

She was told the only way to resolve the matter was to deposit all of the money in her bank account into a Bitcoin machine.

Police said she followed the instructions and deposited $2,400 into a Bitcoin machine and then called police on Thursday evening after realizing it was a scam.

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“Please be very vigilant and cautious whenever you are speaking with someone you don’t know, especially online or over the phone,” police said in a news release.

This is the third such case this month after a 15-year-old girl lost $600 and a woman was bilked out of $2,920.

Two women lost thousands of dollars back in March. One lost $9,500 a day after another woman lost $19,000.

Guelph police have been trying to warn residents of the scam and stress that no police officer or government official will ever instruct a person to deposit money into a Bitcoin machine.

A sign has even been installed at a Bitcoin machine that has commonly been used in these scams, which warns users of fraud.

“Seek advice from a family member, a coworker, a trusted friend or the Guelph Police Service at 519-824-1212 before following through on instructions received from a person that you don’t know,” police said.

Click to play video: 'Tips to avoid bitcoin scams' Tips to avoid bitcoin scams
Tips to avoid bitcoin scams – Mar 1, 2018

Police have said these crimes are incredibly difficult to solve because the perpetrator usually doesn’t live in the same city, let alone the same country.

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Read more: No, the government doesn’t accept Bitcoin, warns RCMP amid surge in scams

It’s also not unique to Guelph.

In August, Waterloo Regional Police said dozens of people had fallen victim to the scam. In one case, a victim lost $10,000 and in another, someone lost $19,000.

At the time, police said, in total, Waterloo Region residents have been duped of more than $430,000 in 2020. Twenty-nine of the 78 victims were scammed in July alone.

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