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While scammers have traditionally requested payment in gift cards, they’ve started to abandoned that for cryptocurrency.
“We’re seeing more bitcoins than gift cards right now, where the suspect directs the victim to deposit cash in a Bitcoin ATM,” Michell said.
The PRP Crime Prevention bureau is battling this scam by putting up posters next to Bitcoin ATMs throughout the region.
While hanging the posters in 2019, officers happened upon a potential victim about to deposit several thousand dollars into a Bitcoin ATM, Michell said.
“Simply put, don’t send money by Bitcoin ATMs when directed by somebody you don’t know or trust,” Michell said.
RENTAL ACCOMMODATION FRAUD
This scam involves the victim answering a rental ad, posted by somebody who doesn’t own the property.
“The ‘landlord’ will request a deposit in order to hold the rental property, and the victim complies by sending an Interac e-transfer,” Michell said.
The property, which is often offered for rent payments too good to be true, doesn’t actually exist, and the victim loses their money.
The best way to combat it, he said, is to never send money electronically sight unseen without actually confirming a property exists, or if the person they’re conversing with is actually the landlord.
Another scam targeting desperate individuals is the employment scam, where crooks post bogus employment ads online — usually seeking product testers or mystery shoppers.