Alberta man swindled thousands of dollars with new twist on old scam

An Alberta man is warning others after losing $8,500 to an old scam with a new twist.

Edmontonian Robert Cronkhite told Global News he received a call Wednesday from someone claiming to be at Service Canada. He said he hung up twice thinking it was a scam. But the third time he got the call, he said he started to believe it.

“They used good jargon. They are very compelling,” he said. “He told me that Service Canada would help me and protect my money.

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Cronkhite said the caller told him his social insurance number was used in Montreal to open a bank account in his name and was being used to launder drug money.

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“There’s $1.7 million in that account,” he said.

Albertan scammed out of $8,500 by crooks posing as government, RCMP.

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While on the phone at home with the alleged Service Canada caller, Cronkhite said he then received a call on his cell phone from a number very similar to a local RCMP detachment. .

He said he spoke to an ‘officer’ who provided him with a badge number and warned him that a warrant had been issued for his arrest and that if he did not want to be jailed for money laundering , he would have to withdraw all his funds from his bank. .

“I left enough money in my accounts to cover service charges and that sort of thing,” he said. “I haven’t closed my accounts, but they are empty.”

Cronkhite was then given a QR code and instructed to deposit his money into a so-called “secure wallet” via a local bitcoin machine, which he did.

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He has no hope of getting his $8,500 back.

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The Government of Canada has issued warnings about these types of scams, saying that many fraudsters attempt to impersonate government services in order to gain access to personal and financial information.

The government said scammers often use emails, websites, text messages and phone calls purportedly from Service Canada or the Canada Revenue Agency to obtain this information.

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The Canadian Anti-Fraud Center and the RCMP have also warned that these types of scams are on the rise and evolving. While scammers used to ask for gift cards as payment, cryptocurrency is now used more often.

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Cryptocurrency scams are one of the biggest frauds right now, costing Canadian consumers more than $120 million in 2021 alone, according to the RCMP.

Canadians are reminded that no level of government or police service will use this type of tactic or method of payment to obtain funds owed or make arrests.

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Cronkhite told Global News he was taken aback that the caller knew so much personal information about him and did not ask for gift cards as payment. He said he also truly believed he was speaking with a real RCMP officer.

That’s when he said he started to panic.

“I was told my phones were tapped, everything was tapped. They said I was being followed and when you start seeing police cars behind you you start to believe.

Once his daughter alerted him that it was a scam, he contacted Edmonton police and confirmed it was a scam.

Cronkhite said he knew he had made a mistake – a very costly mistake. He just wants to warn others so they don’t fall victim.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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