Red Deer RCMP are warning the public of a concerning incident where fraudsters impersonated RCMP officers to defraud an individual.
Earlier this month, Red Deer RCMP responded to a fraud complaint valued at over $70,000. The victim reported that two individuals pretending to be constables with the Red Deer RCMP contacted her with an elaborate story of illegal criminal activity occurring within her bank accounts.
Over the course of three days and multiple phone calls, the woman was convinced to transfer a large amount of money to these individuals through Bitcoin.
“With this case, the scheme was very sophisticated. The fraudsters used a number of deceptive tactics to reassure the victim they were police officers,” says Cst. Andrew Devine, Red Deer RCMP. “They had manipulated their phone to appear as if the call was coming from the detachment. Although she had doubts, they had a number of tricks to reassure her.”
The Red Deer RCMP remind the public of the following tips to protect from fraud.
– The RCMP does not demand immediate payment, including money transfers, over the phone.
– The RCMP does not threaten arrest or deportation for non-payment.
– Though Bitcoin has legitimate uses, it is often used in fraudulent activity, as it is a difficult-to-track currency. The RCMP, CRA and other government agencies will not request payment in Bitcoin or gift cards.
– Verify unusual email or phone requests. Hang up and call the agency directly, confirming the caller’s identity and reason they called.
– If possible, go to the agency or organization’s physical location and speak to someone in person.
– Be wary about providing any personal information by phone, email or text.
– Don’t be intimidated by high-pressure sales tactics.
– If something feels off, trust your gut.
Cst. Devine adds, “If you’re a victim of fraud, you need to come forward. Often people are embarrassed, but your story can help prevent others from being targeted, and potentially help us apprehend the suspects.”
So far in 2020, nearly 20,000 Canadians have reported their experience, and it is estimated that only five per cent of victims will report their experience to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. If you think you are a victim of fraud, please call the Red Deer RCMP at 403-343-5575. You are also encouraged to report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or www.antifraudcentre.ca.