North Vancouver RCMP Community Police Services has launched ‘Fraud Aware’, a proactive fraud-prevention program intended to reduce cryptocurrency and gift-card frauds occurring in North Vancouver.
Fraud Aware aims to promote fraud awareness/education, and establish a link between the Police and our local business community for a collaborative crime prevention approach.
Cryptocurrency (e.g. Bitcoin) is a digital asset that acts as a medium of exchange using strong encryption systems. Scammers take advantage of these strong encryption, which make transactions untraceable and provide anonymity to fraudsters. In addition to anonymity, the ability to access these digital assets from anywhere in the world has attracted scammers to use this method.
Cryptocurrency and gift-card frauds have been increasing rapidly across Canada. Scammers are cold-calling victims, impersonating themselves as a government official (such as CRA, Police, or Service Canada), and inform victims that they owe a large sum of money which they must pay or they would be arrested. Scammers play on emotions, fear, and urgency while using threatening language to obtain funds from victims.
“We have seen several instances where members of the community have called our Community Policing number or walked into the detachment, concerned that they owed large amounts of money,” said Superintendent Ghalib Bhayani. The Fraud Aware program will aim to educate the public, build trust and relationship with key stakeholders, and prevent fraud-related crimes from taking place in our community.
“The motivation to develop a new proactive fraud-prevention program came after receiving a phone call from a local resident who withdrew their entire savings and was about to make a Bitcoin transfer to a scammer. I am glad that we have been successful in preventing many such transactions, and will continue to prevent this with our new and unique proactive program,” said Gursimran Gill, Community Police Services Supervisor.
Community Police Services (CPS) team will start visiting local businesses to create awareness and deliver education about frauds, specifically the cryptocurrency and gift card frauds.
Local businesses will have the opportunity of joining Fraud Aware program, and benefit from the collaboration in preventing such crimes in the community. Finally, with the easing COVID-19 restrictions the CPS team will start setting up various events to promote fraud education and awareness.
North Vancouver RCMP advise everyone not to send Bitcoin or gift-card payment to anyone asking for money by phone or internet. The Federal Government will never ask for payments via Bitcoin or gift cards.
Likewise, think before you give any personal information to anyone over the phone or internet. It is also important to note that scammers can spoof their phone number to show up as local police or another police agency, please don’t trust your call display, just hang up the phone and call North Vancouver RCMP yourself.
For more information regarding Fraud Aware, please contact Community Police Services Centres at NVCPC@rcmp-grc.gc.ca or call 604-969-7465.
Remain vigilant! To report a fraud or scam, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or via online reporting.