SCAM ALERT: Police Warn of GTA Fraud and Extortion Schemes

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A scam alert is being issued by Toronto police and other national and international law enforcement partners.

This time it involves fraud and extortion.

The warning comes regarding the use of Bitcoin.

Victims of phone-based and Internet-based fraud/extortion schemes are being advised to pay associated "fines" and/or "fees" via Bitcoin.

Increasingly, victims are being told to attend various Bitcoin Automated Teller Machines (ATM's) to deposit cash in order to obtain and transfer Bitcoin to other electronic "wallets," the owners of which may reside outside of Canada.

Once Bitcoin is sent it becomes virtually untraceable.

Bitcoin is fast becoming the preferred payment mechanism utilized by people committing so-called CRA Scams, where victims are advised of their imminent arrest on the basis of non-existent infractions.

Victims are advised that immediate payment via Bitcoin ATM will prevent their arrest.

Many GTA victims have lost thousands of dollars to suspects using this method, say police.

The Toronto Strategic Partnership against cross-border fraud is a collaboration of the Toronto police financial crimes unit and other national and international law enforcement partners.

Members of the Strategic Partnership are encouraging the public to be vigilant and that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) may compel payment via the courts or other legal means available to them.

Those means don’t include phoning people and advising them of their pending arrest, nor will the CRA ever contact people over the phone and advise them to pay fees/fines owing using Bitcoin or any other crypto currency.

Police are also advising operators of retail locations equipped with Bitcoin ATM's to be aware of this method of victimization and to take appropriate action to inform their customers accordingly.

Anyone who believes they have been defrauded in this fashion is encouraged to contact their local police service.

Tipsters are asked to contact police at 416-808-7300, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).

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