“So when they’re on the phone with them and they receive their cash they will receive a QR code from the person on the other end of the phone and what they do is they take this code to the bitcoin machine they scan it and then they deposit their money in it,” Garrecht explains.
The QR code and a warning sticker on a Bitcoin machine can be seen below.
In other cases, people are told to buy Google Play cards, scratch the back to reveal the pin code and provide that to the scammer. Then they have that money.
“No legitimate organizations are going to demand you deposit money through the mail, through bitcoin or through Google Play,” says Garrecht. “If you’re not sure, before you do anything, call us.”
Most of the scammers on the phone are males, but female voices are occasionally on the other end of the line as well. No matter who it is, Garrecht says the fraudsters are very smooth and convincing, and the four recent victims range in age from a teenager to someone in their 60s.
Many of the calls come from “spoofed” Alberta phone numbers, said Garrecht, which adds to the seeming legitimacy of them. And the victims are asked to confirmed certain details like social insurance numbers, but are in reality giving these numbers to the fraudsters.
Garrecht says there is no recourse for anyone who has been scammed, particularly via Bitcoin.
“I don’t know a lot about it but it basically goes into this Bitcoin wallet and then it’s transferred to another wallet and it’s basically untraceable,” she said.
Garrecht offers the following advice to anyone who may get one of these calls.
“If you don’t recognize the number, don’t answer it. If it’s important they’ll leave you a message. When you get a recording or they tell you to do something, don’t do it. Just hang up the phone and call us if you’re not sure.”
Read more:Medicine Hat police warn of phone scam