The Medicine Hat Police Service (MHPS) was recently notified that the Service’s phone number was "spoofed" and being used fraudulently to coerce a local resident into providing money into a Bitcoin account.
Spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity. This way the number shows up as one you may already know and trust. If you answer, they use scam scripts to try to steal your money or valuable personal information, which can be used in fraudulent activity*.
In this instance, the persons spoofed a MHPS phone number and identified themselves as a police officer. The scammer advised the resident that their Social Insurance Number had been compromised. The person then advised the victim to withdraw money from their real bank account and purchase Bitcoin at a local vendor and deposit it into a provided account.
This is similar to other frauds where persons identify themselves as employees of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). As a reminder, neither the MHPS or CRA would ask you for your money over the phone, especially in the form of bitcoin, pre-paid credit cards, or pre-paid gaming cards. Anyone who may have been the victim of fraud is asked to contact the MHPS or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.
Some additional tips:
- If you answer the phone and the caller, or a recording, asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, you should just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
- Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
- Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with "Yes" or "No."
- Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Insurance Numbers, mother's maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
- If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company's or government agency's website to verify the authenticity of the request.
More information on common frauds and scam can be found on the MHPS website (mhps.ca or click here )
Sgt. Adam Gregory
Medicine Hat Police Service
Community Support Unit
*Information from the Federal Communications Commission: https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/spoofing-and-caller-id