Canadian police are warning people in the York region about a scam that has seen crooks posing as tax collectors convince more than 40 victims to send them over $300,000 via Bitcoin ATMs.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) scam sees fraudsters call victims on the phone posing as tax collectors or police officers, threatening arrest over tax fraud. The criminals then demand immediate payment, telling victims to withdraw funds from their bank and send the money via methods such as wire transfers and prepaid cards.
Since April, a new twist sees the crooks tell their marks to go to stores with bitcoin ATMs to convert dollars into the cryptocurrency before transferring it.
At a press conference called by the York Regional Police, one victim revealed that she sent $12,000 to the fraudsters via a bitcoin ATM, according to CBC News.
The woman, called Linda, says that she had not heard of bitcoin and that, although she was suspicious when called by the criminals, she was convinced because they knew personal information about her and the caller's number showed up as 'York Regional Police' on her phone.
York Police say that, while bitcoin is a "legitimate online currency", government agencies do not collect money through it. Flyers are being placed near bitcoin ATMs in the area warning about the scam.