By Jensen, Randy on June 4, 2020.
Lethbridge Police are warning the public about a money transfer fraud and are advising people to be wary if they receive any phone calls claiming they are under investigation or owe money.
On Tuesday police responded to a report that a 24-year-old male had been defrauded out of $11,000. Investigation determined the male received a phone call from an unknown number and the caller advised he was under investigation for money laundering. The caller instructed him to take money out of his account and deposit it into a safe, bitcoin account using a bitcoin ATM located along the 400 block of Stafford Drive North. The victim was instructed that in the following days police officers would meet with him and provide a cheque for the full amount if it was proven he was not involved in any illegal activity.
While the victim was at the bitcoin machine, he observed multiple people in line on their phones. Shortly after making his deposit Brinks employees arrived on scene and upon hearing the conversations of the people in line, instructed them to hang up as they were being scammed.
Police are reminding residents to be wary of phone calls from anyone claiming to represent law enforcement, Revenue Canada or other government agencies claiming the individual is under investigation or owes money – especially those demanding payment in the form of bitcoin transfer, gift cards, pre-paid credit cards and wire transfers. These tactics are not used by police or for tax collection purposes. Do not provide any personal information or funds and do not return calls to any number the caller provides. To confirm the legitimacy of a call, contact the agency the caller claims to represent directly.
Police believe there may be additional victims of this scam and are asking anyone who has been victimized to call 403-328-4444.