Police are asking the public to be vigilant as a phone scam makes its way through Victoria and Esquimalt.
Around 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 23, a woman received an automated phone call from someone claiming to be the Strathmore RCMP. The call indicated there was a warrant for her arrest following a Service Canada investigation of a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) incident involving her social insurance number.
The woman said the scammers were “aggressive, manipulative and convincing” and insisted she stay on the phone, according to the Victoria Police Department. They even provided a phone number to call to convince her that the scam was legitimate.
The victim was told to convert money into bitcoin for payment. In total, she lost about $4,000.
During the investigation, the officer looking into the fraud also received an ‘auto-dialer’ call from the ‘Strathmore Police.’ However, the call did not lead to the identification of any suspects.
Police say that call suggests the scam is working its way through the Esquimalt and Victoria area. They say most CRA frauds come from crime groups overseas and most victims do not see their funds returned.
Police warn the public to be vigilant and are reminding residents that Service Canada and the CRA will not telephone to inform that there is a warrant for your arrest and will not ask for payment by bitcoin or gift card.
“If you receive a phone call from the ‘Strathmore Police’ indicating that there is a warrant for your arrest due to a Service Canada or Revenue Canada issue with your social insurance number, hang up. It is likely a fraud,” VicPD says. “If you have concerns, please call the Canada Revenue Agency directly.”