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New phone scam directing victims to Grande Prairie

RCMP in Fort St. John is warning the public of a new Service Canada scam that is attempting to send potential victims from B.C. to Grande Prairie to convert money into bitcoin.

According to police, the caller tells the victim they have too many credit cards or too many bank accounts, and suggest the victims not only empty their bank accounts, but head to Grande Prairie where they are to convert that cash into bitcoin then deposit it as directed.

Constable Chad Neustaeter says over the last two days the scam appears to be evolving with some people being called from local phone numbers, including the Fort St. John RCMP. However, he says police have yet to determine why potential victims are being ordered to travel to the Swan City.

“At this point, we aren’t sure why Grande Prairie, but one of the theories is because they are asking residents to convert their money into bitcoin, that there are [places], or services available to do that which may not be available here in Fort St. John.”

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Neustaeter adds in this particular scam the caller or callers do sound believable, as they have the victim’s name, address and phone number and then ask that the victim confirm their last three digits of their SIN. He adds as often as these scams seem to surface, some residents have still found themselves taken in.

“We have had at least one person who attended the detachment, had their money with them and followed instructions to that point, but I guess believed there was more information to be found… had it not been a two-hour drive they probably would have been in Grande Prairie following the directions given by the fraudsters.”

Police are offering the following tips to anyone who may feel uneasy or suspicious about a phone call asking for sensitive and private information:

  • Never provide personal information such as your SIN
  • If someone calls you and says they are from the CRA, Service Canada, Border Services or a bank and are saying your accounts have been compromised or asking you to transfer money, call the agency back or attend your local bank in person to verify.
  • You have the right to say “No” and then to research what you were told, time constraints and continuous pressure are tactics fraudsters use to get people to follow their instructions.

Anyone with information on this scam is urged to call the RCMP, and immediately report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

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