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Calgary police warn of cryptocurrency scam involving officer impersonations

The Calgary Police Service's headquarters building in Calgary, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Calgary police are warning the public about a cryptocurrency scam that involves scammers who are posing as officers.

Wednesday morning, the Calgary Police Service said it has become aware of incidents were would-be scammers claimed to be “Calgary police officers” attempting to convince citizens they owe thousands in legal fees and requesting payment in bitcoin.

“In most scenarios, scammers claim to be a family member who has been arrested and the phony officer demands money for lawyer fees, sometimes even spoofing the phone numbers of loved ones to make the situation appear legitimate,” the CPS said in a release. “Other reports include scammers posing as officers who are allegedly trying to help victims recover lost funds through a third party ‘cyber agency,’ in exchange for an exorbitant fee.”

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The CPS reminds citizens they can verify an officer’s identity by asking to see a police badge and police photo identification card, or ask for their badge number. A call to the CPS non-emergency line can verify an officer’s identity.

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Police said scammers often use high-pressure and fear-based tactics to get payment quickly, and remind Calgarians to not feel pressured to provide money to strangers and take the time to verify the situation.

Anyone with information about this or any type of fraud is asked to call the CPS non-emergency line at 403-266-1234. Anonymous tips can also be provided to Crime Stoppers.

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