Investigators with the Saanich Police Financial Crimes Section are warning about an increase in cryptocurrency frauds being reported in Saanich, which have resulted in the losses of over a million dollars.
According to police, a handful of files that have been investigated since mid-July have seen a total combined loss for these victims reach $1.4 million.
A few of these instances originate with a fake investor contacting their victims via online messaging platforms such as WhatsApp or WeChat, says a release from Saanich PD.
In these files, police say the scammer provides instructions on how they can quickly make money investing and eventually convince the victim to move money into a cryptocurrency trading platform. The fraudster will then show the victims that the money has quickly grown, and ask for more, with that trend continuing.
“It is important for people to understand that once they move money into cryptocurrency, it cannot be retrieved,” reads a statement from Saanich Police. “These files can be difficult for police to investigate as they often involve multiple layers of fraud and tracking the origins of the fraudster usually points to overseas.”
Police note that many of these scams have targeted members of the Asian community in Saanich.
In order to protect yourself from scams like this, police are recommending to do your own research before in investing by:
- Check out legitimate websites for information/warnings, including the BC Securities Commission and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
- Web search the investment platform and read reviews to the platforms/website (fake ones can be very convincing).
- Ask your local bank, investor, financial planner about it
- Ask trusted friends and family
- Be suspicious of anyone giving you financial advice who you don’t know personally, face to face
- Check the credentials of any financial investor you take advice from before investing your money.
- Take your time and do your due diligence before giving anyone money.
“The significance and sophistication of these types of scams are evolving and are larger than ever,” Saanich PD cautions. “Please protect your assets and sensitive personal information.”
Victims are encouraged to contact the Saanich Police Department to file a report. Additional resources can be found at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, BC Securities Commission, Equifax Canada and Transunion.
For current information that is also translated, residents can visit the Anti-Deception Coordination Centre website.
Anyone with information on these scams is asked to call our non-emergency line at 250-475-4321.