Nanaimo RCMP are warning the public of a Bitcoin scam after reports of people losing up to $2,000.
Victims received phone calls from individuals impersonating BC Hydro and were told their accounts required immediate payments, according to RCMP. The callers claimed to have access to previous bill statements.
The individuals were told payment must be made in cash and deposited at a specific ATM near Woodgrove Centre. They received an email with a QR code and were told to scan it at the ATM in order to make the cash payment.
Police said the victims watched as their payments were converted into bitcoins after they scanned the QR code.
“Most victims figured out at this time, that they had been scammed,” said RCMP in media release.
RCMP said if you are told a payment can only be made in cash, from someone claiming to be from a government business, it is a scam. The threat of having services cut from BC Hydro on short notice should raise suspicions and legitimate companies would not direct customers to an ATM to make a payment, police said.
“This is the latest version of the same scam which has been around for years. The only difference is that QR codes and email are have been added to make it more authentic”, said Const. Gary O’Brien.
It is highly unlikely the victims will be reimbursed for their losses and the phone numbers used are no longer in service, RCMP said.