Bitcoin scam nearly costs Red Deer man $90,000

It was a simple sign that saved the day for a local resident who was almost scammed.

Red Deer RCMP said Tuesday that after being alerted to a phone scam late last week, they discovered an individual was nearly cheated out of $90,000.

The would-be victim was called by scammers pretending to be the Canadian Revenue Agency and the RCMP.

The person was instructed to deposit money into a Bitcoin ATM after being told his identity had been compromised.

The victim went to deposit the money into the Bitcoin ATM machine, but an RCMP warning poster and a vigilant employee at the business helped stop the man from completing the transaction.

“These are not small crimes; people are losing their life savings to these scams,” said Const. Andrew Devine. “No government agency, the RCMP, nor any reputable business, will ever call you and demand a payment through Bitcoin for any reason.”

Bitcoin is a type of non-refundable cryptocurrency, or virtual currency. They are unsecured and not considered legal tender in Canada.

Red Deer RCMP have started an initiative to post warnings on Bitcoin ATMs across the province, cautioning users about the potential for fraud.

“The more awareness we can spread about the risks associated with using Bitcoins, the better,” said Devine.

“In this particular case, the gentleman was just seconds away from losing his life savings. Fortunately, the warning poster and the business employee intervened and prevented the irreversible transaction.”

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