The saying “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is”, is, unfortunately, ringing true for too many British Columbians when it comes to Crypto investment.
As Cryptocurrency continues to gain traction, criminals are also reaping the benefits as they actively lure rookie investors through enticing online and social media ads promising quick and high returns on investment.
Over the last several months the BC RCMP Federal Policing Cybercrime Operations Group has received several reports from cryptocurrency investment fraud victims claiming they have been defrauded through an array of intricate online investment schemes.
Corp. Arash Seyed, with the Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit, said, many of the victims had been lured by online ads promising immediate high returns on cryptocurrency investments, leading them to contact the cryptocurrency exchange platform to inquire about the prospect of multiplying their return on investment.
“This is where a company representative convinced them to invest in cryptocurrency either through a third-party investment platform, or an app downloaded onto their home computer or mobile device that gave the fraudsters access to the victim’s investment account,” Seyed explained.
According to Seyed, many of these victims were novice cryptocurrency investors who first believed the promise of immediate returns were too good to be true, but persistent calls from company representative encouraging them to continue to invest lead the victims to continue, until they realized they had been duped into transferring their savings into a fraudulent account or defrauded through the app’s access to their online wallet.
In December, a Nanaimo senior lost nearly $100,000 to a cryptocurrency scam. Robert Dunning, a 74-year-old retired electrician, said his chequing, savings, line of credit and credit card accounts were cleaned out over two weeks this fall after he set up online banking and invested $250 in Bitcoin.
Following up on the numerous complaints lead the BC RCMP Federal Policing Cybercrime Operations Group to dismantle eight associated websites while continuing to investigate these virtual criminal networks.
If you have been a target of an investment scam, even if a financial loss did not occur, contact your local police agency, alert your trusted cryptocurrency exchange to stop all transactions on your account, and report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) at 1-888-495-8501, or online by way of the Fraud Reporting System (FRS).