LETHBRIDGE, AB – If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
That’s something to keep in mind if you get a call from a scammer wanting you to send money using Bitcoin.
Lethbridge Police have seen a spike in cryptocurrency fraud cases and so far this year, 18 local victims have been bilked out of more than $800,000.
Sergeant Kevin Talbot is in charge of the LPS Economic Crimes Unit. He says these scammers will do anything to get your money.
“The traditional form of giving a scammer your money is sending cash in the mail, transferring it to their account, things like that. Now what they’re doing is they’re asking victims to almost launder the money themselves first by converting it to Bitcoin and then transferring that money to the criminal that way,” says Talbot.
Talbot says the local crypto fraud cases here have ranged from investment scams to more traditional scams involving social media platforms, texts and calls where victims are informed they owe taxes to the CRA, have warrants for their arrest, etc.
Lethbridge Police have provided some things to remember when it comes to cryptocurrency and scammers:
- Be careful when sending cryptocurrency. Once the transaction is completed, it is unlikely to be reversed.
- Be wary of online and social media advertisements promising returns on crypto assets
- Conduct your own research and ensure you know who you are dealing with!
- Using a decentralized platform or a company outside of Canada may carry certain risks – such as the ability for authorities to conduct any follow up.
- Use strong and unique passwords for different online accounts. In the case of a data breach, fraudsters may try using credential stuffing tactics to access your cryptocurrency wallet.
- Consider using multi-factor authentication to secure your accounts and authorize transactions.
- Recognize the warning signs of common scams.
- When in doubt hang up, don’t click any links and don’t respond to any messages.