UPDATE: The VPD now says the woman “exaggerated” her report and at no time was she physically approached by anyone dressed as police officers.
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Well, this is certainly taking the typical phone scam to a whole new level.
A 58-year-old Surrey woman is out several thousand dollars after a couple of scammers disguised themselves as employees of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Mounties to get her money.
Police in Vancouver say at about 4 p.m. Wednesday, the woman got a call, while walking in the Oak and West King Edward Avenue area, from someone saying they were from the CRA. The caller told her there was an arrest warrant in place in connection to a balance she reportedly owed.
She was then put in touch, over the phone, to another person claiming to be a Mountie. That person got her to divulge her personal information, including her exact location at the time of the call.
Then two men dressed in police uniforms showed up, cuffed her and put her in the backseat of a car.
“She was persuaded to withdraw $6,000 from a bank near Cambie Street and West King Edward Avenue and was then driven to a Bitcoin machine in Surrey to deposit the funds. Once the transaction was complete, the suspects left the area without the victim,” explains Constable Jason Doucette.
The first suspect is described as a white man, in his 30s, 5’11” with an average build, light brown hair and a full, trimmed beard. The second man is also white, 25 to 27 years old, short brown hair and clean shaven.
Both were wearing what appeared to be short-sleeved RCMP shirts and blue pants with yellow stripes down the sides. The pair was also wearing police duty belts and had, what appeared to be, guns.
They were driving a black older model, four-door vehicle with worn-out seats.
“This incident has taken the CRA scam to a new level. Taking physical control of someone like this can be considered kidnapping,” adds Doucette. “We are reminding people to hang-up on anyone claiming to be from the CRA. If you want to double check, call the agency at a publicly available number.”
The CRA does not threaten customers by telling them they’ll be arrested or send the police to get any money. The agency also doesn’t accept Bitcoin or gift cards as payments.
Anyone with information about those involved in this incident or may be a victim of fraud is asked to call the VPD’s Major Crime Section at 604.717.2541 or Crime Stoppers at 1.800.222.8477.