Sophisticated Crypto Scams Targeting BC Residents Via Social Media and Dating Sites


VANCOUVER and SURREY, BC, November 3, 2021 / CNW / – British Columbia RCMP, British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC), Canadian Anti-Fraud Center (CAFC) and municipal police are warning the public of an emerging trend of fraudsters using social media and online dating sites to lure BC residents into crypto-asset scams.

In the first eight months of 2021, British Columbians reported losses of $ 3.5 million crypto investment scams – more than triple the amount lost last year, which was just over $ 1 million, according to CAFC data. On average, only five percent of victims of fraud report such incidents to authorities.

Scammers adapt their techniques to the latest trends and technologies, using various tactics to defraud victims:

  • People are approached through dating apps or other social media sites. After developing an online relationship, the fraudster conjures up an “investment opportunity” and convinces the person to make a first payment. The fraudster often manages to convince victims to continue investing, which can lead to substantial losses.

  • Scammers identify a person’s friend and then take control of the friend’s social media accounts. The suspect, pretending to be the friend, easily convinces the person to take advantage of the supposed investment opportunity.

  • Scammers research their potential victims online, including reviewing their social media posts, in order to come up with a tailored strategy for each victim to maximize their chances of success.

  • The fraudster, while calling with a pitch for a crypto-asset investment, convinces a person to provide remote access to their computer. The suspect shows the person a fraudulent crypto investment website that promises substantial returns. In many cases, people will continue to invest until it becomes clear that their funds cannot be withdrawn.

  • Scammers may claim that they will use an investor’s money to buy digital currencies and then cut off all communication after receiving the funds.

BC RCMP, BCSC, CAFC and City Police urge British Columbians to exercise caution when buying or selling crypto assets due to various risks including loss of ‘part or all of their investment. According to the CAFC, there has been a 5,600% increase in fraud to a total of $ 28.5 million involving cryptocurrency in Canada since 2015. This upward trend is expected to continue.

Investors can protect themselves by:

  1. Buy cryptoassets through a registered trading platform. Consult the Canadian Securities Administrators National registration search to see if the entity is registered with securities regulators.

  2. Never send money or invest solely on the advice of someone you meet through social media or a dating site.

  3. Be extremely cautious of unsolicited offers of investment through social media or dating sites.

  4. Be skeptical of high “guaranteed” returns with little or no risk: In general, the higher the return, the higher the risk.

  5. Resist the pressure to buy. Scammers can get you signed up before you even know it. If you ever feel like you’re in a rush, remember that it’s okay to say no or ask for more time.

  6. Ignore the fear of missing out. Scammers are good at making it look like their offer is making other people rich while you sit on the sidelines.

  7. To ask questions. Scammers try to override your gut with complex documents and use overly complicated, inconsistent and jargon-filled explanations. If you can’t figure it out and can’t get your questions answered, go.

If you are the victim of fraud or know someone who has been a victim of it, people should contact their local police department and the CAFC by phone at 1-888-495-8501 or online through the Reporting System. fraud (FRS), even if no financial loss has occurred. If you have been the victim of an investment scam or know someone who has also report it to the BCSC.


Superintendent Brent Taylor, Officer in Charge of the RCMP’s Federal Financial Integrity Program in British Columbia

“The recent growth in crypto and cybercrime frauds has not gone unnoticed. Law enforcement cannot stop this activity without the help of the public. Better educating yourself using legitimate sources before investing is key. protect your money and your investments.

Doug Muir, Chief Executive Officer of the British Columbia Securities Commission

“Scammers use social media and dating apps to manipulate people seeking to build meaningful relationships, exploit the trust of their victims, and then defraud them with large sums of money. improvident or if you promise yourself high returns that sound too good to be true Always research the investment and the person selling it before investing.

Deputy Chief Howard chow, President of the British Columbia Association of Chiefs of Police

“Fraudsters prey on victims by seizing any opportunity to exploit their vulnerabilities. The public should recognize the importance of educating themselves about crypto and cybersecurity crimes, before investing or transferring currency. Armed with up-to-date and accurate information, the public can make the difference in identifying and preventing fraud, before it’s too late. “

Sergeant Guy Paul Larocque, head of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center

Every year, thousands of Canadians are victims of fraud. Most don’t think it could happen to them, but fraudsters are using increasingly sophisticated means to target people of all ages, as crypto investment scams show. It is important for victims to know that they are not alone and that by reporting the crime they are helping themselves and others. “

About the British Columbia Securities Commission

The British Columbia Securities Commission is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating the capital markets in British Columbia by the administration of the Securities Act. Our mission is to protect and promote the public interest by promoting:

  • A fair securities market worthy of the public

  • A dynamic and competitive securities industry that offers investment opportunities and access to capital

About the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Center (CAFC) is from Canada central repository of information on fraud. The CAFC is jointly managed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Competition Bureau Canada, and the Ontario Provincial Police.

SOURCE British Columbia Securities Commission


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