Richmond RCMP are warning the public after a resident was tricked into thinking their partner had been abducted and paid $10,000 in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin as ransom.
Mounties responded to a report of an abduction at a home in the 500 block of Dover Crescent on Monday evening.
The suspect or suspects were allegedly able to “spoof” a cell phone caller ID and contact the victim, pretending to be calling from the partner’s cell phone and demanding the money for their safe return.
More than $10,000 were allegedly transferred to a Bitcoin ATM at a Waves coffee shop in the 5900 block of No. 3 Road before the victim realized it was all a scam.
The partner was found unhurt, and wasn’t aware of the supposed abduction.
“Criminals are trending towards more sophisticated techniques in their activities and how they are able to gather personal information from their victims,” Cpl. Dennis Hwang said.
“This includes sophisticated phishing exploits via computer to conventional methods such posing as [a] company employee by phone to obtain cell phone numbers or other personal data.”
The most widely demanded forms of payment in scams are gift cards for iTunes gift cards, gift cards for the gaming platform Steam, and Bitcoin.
“If any of these types of payment are being demanded, the alarm bells should be going immediately,” said Hwang.
“Please exercise caution whenever anyone demands personal information from you. Abductions are extremely serious offences that the police do not take lightly.”