Saanich police are warning community members of a rise in a romance and investment scam that is sometimes referred to as “pig butchering.”
The scam involves fraudsters contacting victims on social media or dating apps, and convincing them to invest in cryptocurrency.
The scammer usually claims they are a successful cryptocurrency investor and slowly convinces the victim to invest into a cryptocurrency website or app that looks legitimate, but is in fact controlled by the scammer.
“The victim is encouraged to invest, and the fraudster will make sure to post a modest gain on the investment,” said Saanich police in a release Friday.
“The fraudster may even allow the victim to withdraw money a few times to convince them the process is legitimate.”
This process continues until the fraudster is able to convince the victim to invest a large amount of money, sometimes “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” according to Saanich police.
Once a large deposit is made, the scammer disappears, taking with them all of the funds.
Police say this type of scam was first flagged by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre in June. In recent months, however, Saanich police say they’ve seen cases in the local community, sometimes resulting in “large financial losses,” particularly among residents of Chinese descent.
If you are a victim of fraud and live in Saanich, you can contact Saanich police at 250-475-4321.
Otherwise, you can also contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or at 1-888-495-8501 to report fraud or attempted fraud.