A letter demanding Bitcoin and threatening death has been circulating in Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam for several days and the RCMP say it’s a scam.
The letter is mailed to the home, and in some cases contains white powder.
In a press release issued Monday, police are warning the public about the threatening letter scam that has been sent to numerous homes in Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam over the past week.
The letter requests the receiver send Bitcoin by scanning a QR Code at the bottom of the letter before “bad things” happen to them.
The letter threatens death, torching of property and even brake lines being cut.
Coquitlam RCMP have received numerous reports of the letter since Jan, 25 and are currently investigating the letters with the help of their partners at Canada Post, Const. Deanna Law stated in a press release.
The letter also threatens recipients of fentanyl being hidden in Amazon packages if the recipient does not send 0.05 bitcoin.
MASS PRODUCED LETTER
Coquitlam RCMP believes this letter to be a mass produced effort sent to multiple addresses, as all letters appear identical.
The scam has also generated conversation on the popular online forum Reddit when a contributor who goes by the name CmdrThunderpunch said their parents who live in Port Coquitlam were sent the letter,
The poster also published a photo of the envelope that has an address that matches the one published in a Vancouver Sun article as being the address of a Hell’s Angel clubhouse in Vancouver.
“Addressed. With postage stamps and even a return address! Gonna go out on a limb and say that it’s not actually the return address,” noted another poster.
Similar suspicious letters with white powder have been found in Etobicoke and Peel in Ontario, with police reporting that the white powder was icing sugar, according to a December, 2020 article published by the CBC.
And while none of the local letters have resulted in anyone being harmed from the white powder inside the letter, and the substance has yet to be identified by Coquitlam RCMP, it is recommend that the public be careful with the following tips:
• Immediately put the letter, envelope and contents in a sealable bag, either a sandwich bag or freezer bag;
• Sanitize the area where you opened the letter;
• Wash your hands; and
• Call the police about the letter.
Should you have received one of these letters already or receive the letter in the future please contact the Coquitlam RCMP.
Coquitlam RCMP’s non-emergency line is 604-945-1550.
“Fraudsters often attempt to pass themselves off as someone in authority. They may impersonate a police officer or an employee of a business, financial institution or government agency. Fraudsters use a variety of tactics, but their ultimate goal is the same-to take your money”, stated Const. Law, in the press release.
AVOID THESE SCAMS
Further, police provide information about signs of a scam, including:
• Unsolicited phone call, email, text or letter.
• Urgent or threatening language.
• Request for personal information such as name, address, birthdate, social insurance number, credit card or banking information.
• Serious unfounded claims such as: “You will be arrested, ‘A warrant has been issued for your arrest’, ‘You will be deported’, ‘Threatening you well being’.”
• Demand for payment by e-transfer, pre-paid credit cards, gift cards, or online currency (ex. Bitcoin).
Whether you made a payment or not, report scams to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or www.antifraudcentre.ca. If you made a payment, contact your financial institution that transferred the money, and report the incident to your local police. Coquitlam RCMP’s non-emergency line is 604-945-1550.