Another crypto scam has cost victims more than a million dollars, according to RCMP in the Comox Valley.
Investigators in the region are looking into “several reports” of cryptocurrency fraud, including two cases where victims were cold-called and offered an opportunity to invest in digital currency for dividends.
Those victims allowed fraudsters to gain remote access to their computers, which they used to gather personal information and access to online trading accounts.
“For some time, the victims received dividends from the scammer,” Comox Valley RCMP said in a news release. “When the dividends eventually stopped, the accounts were drained and the victims lost thousands of dollars more than they received back.”
Other victims were led to scams by Facebook ads for crypto brokers, who they transferred money to — only to have all communication eventually cease and their money become inaccessible.
“Once you’ve taken your money from the bank and transferred it elsewhere, you are responsible for where it goes and who is able to access it,” said Const. Monika Terragni, spokesperson for Comox Valley RCMP.
“Take your time to know where your money is going and don’t get lured in by fancy websites, online advertisements, or unexpected phone calls.”
The Comox Valley cryptocurrency scams follow a series of similar scams in Saanich in which victims lost approximately $1.4 million.
A handful of files investigated since mid-July started with a fake investor contacting their victims via online messaging platforms such as WhatsApp or WeChat, according to Saanich PD.
The prevalence of these kinds of sophisticated scams has even prompted the British Columbia Securities Commission and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to issue a warning, saying in early November that losses so far this year more than tripled the amount lost last year.
The BC Securities Commission says that fraudsters are “adapting their techniques to the latest trends and technologies,” which include using social media and dating sites to target victims.
To avoid being scammed, authorities recommend you be wary of online ads promising returns on crypto assets — and be suspicious if you’re contacted out of the blue for such an offer.
Don’t feel rushed into making a decision, and never allow someone to gain remote access to your computer to facilitate the creation of accounts or to access private banking information.
If you believe you’ve fallen victim to a cryptocurrency scam, call your local RCMP or make an anonymous report to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.