WINNIPEG - A police force in southern Manitoba is warning citizens to be wary when receiving random text messages and phone calls.
The Winkler Police Service says two Manitobans were recently victims of phone scams, one losing money after being told she was an identity theft victim, the other becoming an actual identity theft victim. Investigators explain a woman was called this past weekend by a man claiming to be from "Winkler RCMP" (Winkler Police note their presence there means there’s no need for Mounties to have a detachment). The man claimed her identity had been stolen, and told her to transfer money from her bank and convert it to Bitcoin. The victim then lost access to the cryptocurrency.
Just the day before, Winkler Police say another woman told them she’d received a text message claiming that an item she had ordered from Amazon had gone missing, and that she needed to call a phone number to help track down the package.
The victim hadn’t ordered anything from Amazon, but she called the number anyway and gave the scam artists her credit card and driver’s licence numbers. She was told to enter a code on her computer, which allowed the fraudsters to hijack it. But the victim didn’t realize she’d been scammed until she got an email about an account on a Bitcoin website opened in her name. Police advised her to stop talking with the fraudster, and notify her bank so it could block any potential transactions.
The Winnipeg Police Service says an increasing number of Manitobans are becoming victims of scams involving Bitcoin. Police are urging people to only send cryptocurrency to people they know, and to never give personal information to strangers.