(File Photo)

A Victoria resident is out nearly $50,000 after falling victim to a bitcoin scam.

According to VicPD, the scam began after the victim received an email that appeared to be from PayPal indicating the person owed $499 and needed to take immediate action.

Police said the email included a phone number that the victim called, and during a conversation, fraudsters were able to convince the victim that $49,999 was owed to them.

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The scammers were able to gather enough information on the victim to make the fraud more legitimate and convinced the person to go to their financial institution and withdraw funds.

Knowing that withdrawing this amount of cash is a “red flag” that financial services staff look for, the victim was instructed to tell the bank workers that the money was being used to purchase property to avoid suspicion.

They then got the victim to deposit the money at various bitcoin ATMs around Greater Victoria.

The victim finally realized it was a fraud and contacted police.

Tips to be aware of

VicPD has released several tips on how to spot a scam, and to make sure that vulnerable family members are also informed of them.

“These professional criminals use the combination of technology and intimidation to overwhelm their victims’ good sense,” said VicPD.

  • If someone contacts you, demands money and also demands that you don’t tell anyone, it is likely a fraud
  • If someone contacts you to tell you that you owe money, but then significantly increases the amount you seemingly owe after contacting them, it is likely a fraud
  • If someone asks you to lie about the purpose of withdrawing money, it is likely a fraud
  • If a business asks you to deposit cash into a Bitcoin ATM for payment, it is likely a fraud
  • More information about scams and fraud can be found on the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website

VicPD say it’s very unlikely the victim in this investigation will be able to recover their money.

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