Kingston Police warn of complex scam reported in the area

Photo via Kingston Police.

Kingston Police have shared details of a multi-step fraud in the hope that potential victims will be able to recognize the scam.

In a media release, Kingston Police said a report of the multi-step fraud was received on Wednesday, Apr. 24, 2024.

“On April 22, 2024, a Kingston resident received a phone call from the suspects claiming to represent Amazon. The caller said they were investigating if several expensive purchases had been made by the victim. The victim said these were fraudulent and, after volunteering the name of their bank, was connected with another suspect claiming to represent their financial institution’s fraud department. The victim was then passed to yet another suspect, who claimed to be a representative of the Canadian government,” police detailed.

“At this stage, the victim was told their identity had been stolen and used for drug trafficking and money laundering in the U.S. The suspects even forwarded the victim’s credentials and a letter describing the investigation into their identity theft. The suspects then asked the victim to look up the phone number for the Kingston RCMP detachment and confirm it with them; the suspects then called the victim and spoofed the actual contact number, impersonating an RCMP constable.”

The fake letter describing the investigation into the victim’s identity theft. Image via Kingston Police.

According to police, the victim was told to withdraw all the money in their bank accounts and convert it to Bitcoin using a Bitcoin ATM to be “verified by the Court.”

“The victim was told the names of specific bank tellers working at their branch and told they were in on the scam – it is unknown how the suspects knew the names of the tellers. The suspects also sent the victim a QR code, which, when scanned at the Bitcoin ATM directed the money to the suspects’ virtual wallet,” police stated.

The total loss to the victim in this incident was $20,000, according to the release.

Kingston Police provided the following suggestions to avoid becoming a victim of fraud:

  • If contacted by anyone claiming to represent a company with whom you do business, your financial institution, or even the Police, especially if they are seeking any personal information, do the following: hang up, look up the number for yourself, and call back to confirm if the call is legitimate.
  • Your financial institution will never call you and ask you to confirm personal details or ask for a two-step verification code.
  • The police or your financial institution will never call and ask you to assist them in catching a fraudster, especially by withdrawing your money to keep it safe or to act as bait.
  • If you are asked to send money by purchasing gift cards or using a Bitcoin ATM, this is a fraud.
  • When in doubt pause to think about the situation, contact a few other people and describe the situation to them: Take 5 and Tell 5.

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