Vancouver Police are warning the public about a new element to an existing telephone scam where fraudsters use spoofing to display the VPD non-emergency number and pretend to be police officers.

Police have received numerous reports of fraudsters calling Vancouver residents, and representing themselves as VPD or CRA. They demand Bitcoin or gift cards to pay false debts.

“The non-emergency police line is for residents to use to report incidents to the police. The police will never call you from the non-emergency number and will never solicit payment,” says Sergeant Aaron Roed, VPD. “We ask that if you receive a call like this, you hang up immediately and spread the word to friends and family.”

In this latest scam, the fraudsters state they are calling from the CRA and ask the victim to look up and provide the number for the police department. The scammers hang up and the victims receive another call, from a person purporting to be a police officer. The number on the call display is the VPD non-emergency line.

The fraudster provides a fake badge number and indicates that the victim’s social insurance number has been used to create credit card accounts with substantial balances owing. The victim is told they are responsible for the debt and told to clear it up by providing Bitcoin or gift cards.

Police encourage residents to report scams to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or toll free at 1-888-495-8501. The VPD is asking anyone who may have been the victim of fraud to contact VPD at 604-717-3321 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.