Ransom paid in Bitcoin in Richmond

RICHMOND RCMP are investigating an alleged abduction where a ransom was paid in Bitcoin.

Just before 7 p.m. on July 16, Richmond RCMP responded to a residence in the 5000-block of Dover Crescent for a report of an abduction. Suspect or suspects were allegedly able to “spoof” a cell phone caller ID and contact the victim demanding payment for safe return of their partner.

The victim took the threat seriously as the originating call appeared to have come from their partner’s cell phone. Funds in access of $10,000 were allegedly transferred to a Bitcoin ATM machine located at a coffee shop in the 5900-block of No. 3 Road before the victim recognized that they were being scammed. The victim’s partner was located unharmed and unaware of their supposed abduction.

The Richmond RCMP General Investigation Section is investigating this incident.

“Richmond RCMP is warning the public that criminals are trending towards more sophisticated techniques in their activities and how they are able to gather personal information from their victims. This includes sophisticated phishing exploits via computer to conventional methods such posing as company employee by phone to obtain cell phone numbers or other personal data,” said Cpl. Dennis Hwang.

He added: “We would also like to take this opportunity to reiterate that the current most widely demanded forms of payment related to scams are iTunes gift cards, Steam (gaming) gift cards, and and Bitcoin. If any of these types of payment are being demanded, the alarm bells should be going immediately.”

He warned: “Please exercise caution whenever anyone demands personal information from you. Abductions are extremely serious offences that the police do not take lightly.”