Bitcoin and gift card scams
Scammers tend to use similar tactics to take your money regardless of how the actual transfer of funds happen.
Even if you don't normally use cryptocurrency, commonly known as Bitcoin, scammers are good at enticing, pressuring, threatening or extorting their targets into sending them bitcoin from an ATM. Once the coins are in the scammer’s wallet, the victim’s money is gone and unlikely to be retrieved.
Unfortunately, scammers often target victims of fraud a second or third time with the promise of recovering money.
What the scams may look like?
Phone call from a government official or police officer
Scammers often identify themselves as a government official or police officer to increase the level of jeopardy if immediate action is not taken.
- They spoof their number to show up as local police, or a government agency to convince the target that the call is legitimate.
- Threats of arrest, lawsuit, penalty, deportation, or immediate suspension of services/benefits if payment is not made immediately.
- Canadian government agencies or police do not demand payment through the exchange of cryptocurrency.
- Never give out your personal information especially to an unsolicited caller.
- Legitimate companies would not direct you to ATM machines or send you a QR code to make a payment.
Investments with high returns
Through social media, scammers lure in victims by promising high levels of return.
- The scammers present themselves as an old friend of the victim.
- Someone in a chat room suggests you download a specific app for purchasing Cryptocurrency.
- Someone the victim met via social media requests the victim invest in their business using Cryptocurrency.
- After receiving a nice return via a legitimate website, victims were prompted to invest a larger sum via a similar but fake website.
- Call someone to discuss before making any decisions.
- Don’t let your heart guide you into making a financial decision.
- If it’s too good to be true, it is.
- If you choose to purchase any kind of Cryptocurrency, use a major trading platform or online exchange.
- Unsolicited phone calls, email or text.
- Urgent or threatening language used.
- Demand for payment by e-transfer, pre-paid credit card, gift cards, or online currency (ex. Bitcoin).
- Request for personal information such as name, address, birthdate, social insurance number, credit card or banking information.
- Never give out your personal information, especially to an unsolicited caller.
- Don’t be afraid to say no if the caller asks you to send them money or requires up-front fees to receive a prize or gift.
- Always verify that the organization you’re dealing with is legitimate before you take any action.
- Stay up to date with the latest scams, visit Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
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