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Okanagan resident out $11,000 after Bitcoin scam

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) does not accept Bitcoin or gift cards as payment caution RCMP following a recent scam.

According to RCMP, on Jan. 18, a Vernon resident received an email and phone call from an alleged employee of the CRA.

The victim was told that he owed the CRA $11,000 in unpaid taxes and that police would show up at his home if he hung up or did not pay the money.

The fraudster then instructed the victim to make the payment that day by using a Bitcoin terminal. A transfer of $11,000 was made by the victim to a Bitcoin reference number given by the scammer.

"Unfortunately this victim realized he was being scammed a little too late and police were not able to assist in the retrieval of his funds," said Cst. Kelly Brett. "Tax season is upon us and there has been a significant increase in these types of scams. The scam artists will gain your confidence, leading you to believe that you will be penalized by police if the money is not paid immediately."

Canada Revenue Agency will not contact you by phone or email and threaten or coerce you into paying a tax bill, nor will it divulge your information to others or leave personal information on an answering machine or voicemail.

If you want to confirm the CRA has contacted you, call them at 1 800-959-8281 for individual concerns or 1 800-959-5525 for business-related calls.

For more on fraud prevention, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website, or the B.C. RCMP website.

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