York Regional Police are warning the public about cryptocurrency investment scams in which fraudsters claim to know cryptocurrency traders/investors or to be one themselves.
The fraudsters approach victims through social media, unsolicited emails, dating sites and online advertisements. Promising a big return, they convince people to transfer money and go as far as setting up fake websites where victims can supposedly see their funds in cryptocurrency accounts.
“In many instances, these fraudsters are using fake names and identities or impersonating existing legal companies to solicit victims and to appear legitimate,” Const. Maniva Armstrong warns. “The fraudster will continually ask for more money and additional fees and eventually victims will not be able to recover their money at all.”
How can you tell if you’re being scammed? The fraudster will send you friend request on social media, try to build your trust and ask you to download a specific app and tell you it’s secure. You may be asked to invest money through the app and to wire or transfer funds.
“You will likely never see the investment return and the fraudster will disappear once you invest,” says Armstrong.
Police advise you to rust your instincts and never invest in something you don’t completely understand or with people or businesses you can’t confirm are legitimate. Don’t accept money transfers or deposits from unknown persons. They also encourage you to share fraud prevention tips with friends and family, particularly seniors or newcomers to Canada because they’re often the targeted victims of frauds and scams.
If you’ve been a victim of a fraud and have lost money, report the incident immediately to the Financial Crimes Unit at https://www.yrp.ca/en/online-reporting/Report-a-Crime.asp or call 1-866-876-5423, ext. 6627.
To report frauds in which no money has been lost, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or by calling 1-888-495-8501.