Cut brake lines. Poisoned packages. Drive-by shootings. Death to you and all your family members.
Those are some of the terrifying threats enclosed in a series of letters sent to Metro Vancouver residents in recent weeks. Police are alerting the public after several people in Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam received letters threatening death if they didn’t pay an amount of Bitcoin to an anonymous QR code address.
But police say the letters, while alarming, are just a scam.
The letters threaten that recipients have “24 hours” to send 0.05 Bitcoin — about $2,300 CAD — or they will face death.
“Property can be torched. Brake lines can be cut. A lethal dose of fentanyl can be hidden in amazon packages, mail, letters and food delivery,” the letter reads.
The letter also warns recipients not to go to the police, and that they are being monitored 24/7.
It’s scary stuff. But police say the letters show all the tell-tale signs of a scam.
WATCH: Ever receive a package you didn’t order? It might be a scam. Story continues below.
“Fraudsters often attempt to pass themselves off as someone in authority,” Coquitlam RCMP media relations officer Const. Deanna Law said in a statement this week.
“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.”
Coquitlam RCMP say they’ve received numerous reports of the letters since Jan. 25, some also contained loose white powder. The letters all appear to be the same, suggesting they were mass produced and sent to multiple addresses.
RCMP say no one has reported harm from the powder, but the public should take caution. If you do receive one of these letters, you should immediately put the letter, envelope and contents in a sealable bag, sanitize the area where you opened the letter, wash your hands and contact local police.
RCMP are also reminded the public to keep an eye out for the signs of mail and phone scams. You should be suspicious of any strange correspondence you receive asking for personal information or money, particularly anything with a hostile tone or unfounded threats of death or arrest.
You can report scams like this to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or www.antifraudcentre.ca.