Stop, Listen, Think

Guelph woman loses $3,800 in bitcoin scam involving fake government official
Forget for a moment that the government or police or whoever is telling you to send them bitcoin in order to sort out a court case. Don’t ever send it, but for now that’s the least of our problems. What I’m more concerned about is the idea that this here official is aware that your SIN number has been compromised, yet he still wants *you* to send money or risk having *yourself* go to jail. Yes, you’ve just heard some disturbing news, but try to slow down and process what you’re hearing. That’s an obvious red flag that you’re being scammed, because that’s totally not how things work.

The woman received a call Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. The male caller informed the woman that her social insurance number had been compromised and had been used to rent a car. According to the unidentified male caller, the car had been stopped by police and was found to contain a large amount of cocaine. 
Police say the woman was told to send bitcoin or risk going to jail. She went to a store in Guelph and made the transaction.

I’m posting this not so much to make fun of anyone as I am to offer a reminder of just how preventable this sort of thing should be.

Nobody legitimate will ever call you out of the blue and then threaten you with arrest unless you send bitcoin or gift certificates to some strange address. The CRA doesn’t take payment in the form of iTunes promo codes funneled through India, for example.

And watch those details. If your identity has been stolen from you, why would you be the one that the real police would be coming after? You’re the victim here. Not to mention that if the rented car in this case has been stopped and has been found to contain a big pile of drugs, there’s about a 100% chance that it also contained at least one real criminal who was arrested. How else do you suppose they knew about your stolen social insurance number?

Bringing down these scam operations isn’t always easy, but stopping your own self from lining their pockets isn’t nearly so hard. Do your best to put the scare tactics out of your mind so that you can use it for logic. Importantly, if you’re ever in doubt about what you’re hearing, get off the phone and get in touch with the agency the scary government fellow is claiming to represent directly. Oh, and even if the number on your call display is the same one you find for the real office, you’re still very likely being taken for a ride. People can fake those.

Be careful out there. There are some real pricks in this world.

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