VANCOUVER -- Police in Victoria are warning the public after a local resident was scammed out of $1,700 by criminals posing as police officers.

The victim had recently received a legitimate notice about their taxes from the Canada Revenue Agency, police said in a news release Friday.

"In an unfortunate coincidence, the victim then received a phone call from a number listed as the (Victoria Police Department) non-emergency line on their call display," police said in their release.

"Upon answering the call, the victim spoke with a fraudster who impersonated a VicPD officer and claimed the victim was about to be arrested on fraud charges related to their tax account."

The scammer had "spoofed" the police department's number, and encouraged the victim to Google the number to confirm the call was legitimate, police said.

Number spoofing is a tactic commonly used by fraudsters to make it look like their calls are coming from a legitimate number and authority, police said, adding that VicPD officers and staff members have, in the past, received scam calls appearing to be from the department's own non-emergency number. 

In this case, the victim was convinced the call was legitimate and was tricked into sharing personal information and purchasing $1,700 in Bitcoin to pay a non-existent fine.

"While investigators are continuing their work on this file, it is unlikely the victim’s money will be recovered," police said in their release.

They added that Victoria police officers will never contact members of the public to demand money, especially not as a condition of avoiding jail time. Local police departments do not collect fines on behalf of the Canada Revenue Agency, and fines are never paid in Bitcoin, police said.

"If during a call someone asks you to Google the number on your call display to verify the call is legitimate, instead offer to call them back after looking up the number yourself," police said. "If someone demands you pay a fine in Bitcoin, do not. It is a scam."

More information about how to protect yourself from fraud can be found on the Victoria police website