Local resident bilked out of $50,000 with Bitcoin, gift card scam

'Stop trusting people you are unfamiliar with and keep your guard up': OPP

CENTRE WELLINGTON – Police are again warning residents to be wary of fraudsters after a resident here was scammed out of $50,000.

On April 19, Wellington County Ontario Provincial Police OPP responded to a fraud complaint from a Centre Wellington resident.

Police say someone “provoked the victim” to purchase and transfer over $50,000 in Bitcoin and gift cards.

“The victim was lead to believe that someone had attempted to access their credit card and bank account,” states an OPP press release.

“The victim was then asked to assist the bank in tracking down the made-up criminal. Over a series of days, the victim saw funds placed into their account and was then directed to purchase gift cards and Bitcoins with those new funds.”

Police added, “The victim was then instructed to share the information from the Bitcoin and gift card purchases to the scammer.

“The victim believed there was no risk as those new funds appeared in their account; however, investigation revealed that those funds were actually being transferred from one of the victims other accounts.”

In total, the victim lost over $50,000.

Police say this type of scam “starts off by causing stress, fear and panic in the potential victim, making them desperate for solutions.”

The OPP is reminding the public that banks “don’t turn customers into ‘agents’ for their investigations.”

“Always ensure that you are dealing with the authorities, call your local bank using a previously validated phone number and confirm that what you’ve been told is true,” police say.

“You are liable and put yourself in financial risk when you disclose banking information.

“Start looking out for yourself, stop trusting people you are unfamiliar with and keep your guard up when it comes to unsolicited contact over the phone or electronic communications.”