Police say fraudsters target people by compromising social media accounts of friends, pose as friends and seek cash for cryptocurrency investment
SOUTH SIMCOE POLICE SERVICE
The South Simcoe Police Service wants to make citizens aware of a cryptocurrency investment scam on social media, predominantly Instagram.
We are issuing the warning after a 32-year-old Bradford man recently lost several thousand dollars to the scheme.
In this cryptocurrency investment scam, fraudsters target you by compromising social media accounts of your friends. Posing as your friend, the fraudster talks about a cryptocurrency investment.
Because you believe you are communicating with someone you trust, you can be more open to make the investment. The fraudster promises a large return if you invest a small amount such as $1,000. Then the suspects start giving various reasons as to why you need to send more money, such as transfer fees that need to be covered.
When victims become suspicious or frustrated with the process and ask for their money back, fraudsters say they will return the cash if the victim posts a video promoting the “investment opportunity.” The money is never returned but people connected with the victim will see the video on social media and believe the investment is legitimate.
The South Simcoe Police Service is reminding citizens to always verify the source of any request for investment or cash before taking action. If you receive an investment opportunity from a friend, confirm the message really came from your friend using a different form of communication, either phone call, text or in person. Also check your friend’s social media account to determine if it has been hacked. Never send money without confirming the reliability of the investors or the source of the investment pitch.
Here is further information from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre:
- Investment opportunities with too-good-to-be-true returns
- Displays of urgency making you think this is a deal you don’t want to miss
- Fraudulent ads posted on the internet or social media
- Unsolicited investment offers received by telephone, email or social media. The opportunities can be presented by fraudsters impersonating a friend, someone you have only met via dating apps or social media, a fake crypto company, requests to transfer your legit crypto investment to an alternate crypto address that is under the control of criminals.
Protect yourself against cryptocurrency scams
- Research carefully before making a crypto investment. Choose a reputable service.
- Be careful when sending cryptocurrency. Once the transaction is completed you will be unable to recall it.
- If you receive an investment opportunity from a friend, confirm that the message really came from them.
- Be wary of individuals met on dating apps or social media who attempt to convince you to invest in cryptocurrencies.
- Beware of unsolicited requests encouraging you to open and fund new crypto accounts. They will direct you to wallets controlled by criminals.
- Prior to investing, research the team behind the offer and analyze the project.
- Be clear on the conditions of your purchase and cryptocurrency ownership.
- Keep it to yourself. If you buy cryptocurrency, do not announce it on social media as it might attract the criminals’ attention.
- If you become a victim, report it to your national police.
If you have been the victim of a cryptocurrency investment scam, please report to police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre: www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm.