Guelph woman defrauded out of $9,000 in Bitcoin scam: police

A Bitcoin logo is shown is displayed on an ATM in Hong Kong on December 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Kin Cheung

Guelph police say a 71-year-old woman has been defrauded out of $9,000 in a Bitcoin scam.

She received a call on Jan. 14 from someone claiming to be a police officer who said the woman’s social insurance card had been found at a violent crime scene and she was possibly facing charges.

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She was also reportedly told that her bank account had been comprised and she needed to move her money.

Police said the victim was scared and withdrew the money from her bank account and deposited it into a Bitcoin machine in the downtown core.

The woman then contacted police on Monday.

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“Unfortunately, these types of scams are very difficult to investigate,” police said in a news release. “The odds of recovering the funds are low.”

This type of scam has been popping up in Guelph lately with at least five similar cases last year, including three in November.

In each incident, the victim gets a call from someone claiming either to be a police officer or a government official who falsely reports their bank account or SIN was compromised.

The victims are then told to clean out their bank account and deposit the funds into a Bitcoin machine.

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The Guelph Police Service would like to remind the public that no police officer or government official will ever instruct you to deposit money into a Bitcoin machine,” police said in a news release.

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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.”

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The service added to seek advice from a family member, coworker, friend or even by calling them at 519-824-1212.

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


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