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Published March 14, 2024

'She is devastated,' according to Barrie police. Family out $15K in spoof call

Police say a Barrie woman is "devastated" after she was the victim of a spoof call that drained $15,000 from the family bank account on Tuesday.

Barrie police communications coordinator Peter Leon says the woman received a phone call and on the call display it showed her husband's name and it came up with his phone number.

"Right away, she thought that there was a problem and that her husband was in trouble."

The person on the other line initially identified themselves as a translator for police.

The caller threatened that her husband could be deported and she had to deposit money.

"She was told where to go in the City of Barrie to a Bitcoin location," explained Leon. "She was given the appropriate pin numbers and a different accounts, and she began to deposit money into the machine."

Then, all of a sudden, said Leon, the caller demanded more money and threatened her with deportation.

"These people are new to our country, are here lawfully and are being taken advantage of."

Leon says from what he knows, she has had no contact with police so she would not understand how police might reach out to them to share news about a family member.

"If police are going to call someone personally, they will identify themselves by their rank and surname, perhaps their first name, and of course where they work."

Sadly, Leon said, there isn't much that can be done to get the money back.

Bitcoin is hard to trace, as it takes regular currency and converts it into cryptocurrency.

Leon noted the crime occurred in what is Fraud Prevention Month.

"When you work for your money, you don't want to see it disappear under fraudulent means."

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