Cryptocurrency scams net $163.9M from Canadians in 2021: CAFC

Police urge residents to beware of cryptocurrency scams after two Simcoe County men “suffered significant financial losses” after meeting individuals online who convinced them to invest.

South Simcoe Police say these scams promise a speedy and “incredible financial return” on an investment.

In 2021, victims lost $163.9 million to investment scams, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC).

Police say in most cases, the investment opportunities seem too good to be true, with next to no risk.

The fraud centre says red flags include:

  • Investment opportunities with higher than normal returns

  • Investment offers made by unsolicited calls, email or on social media

  • Urgency in a message, i.e., ‘Don’t miss out!’

  • Individual met on a dating site quickly tries to convince you to invest in cryptocurrency

  • Friend tells you about cryptocurrency investment opportunities via social media or email

The CAFC says if a friend reaches out with an investment opportunity via email or social media, call them to confirm it is, in fact, them who contacted you and not someone posing as your friend.

Do some research. Verify if the company is registered with the Ontario Securities Commission or the National Registration search tool.

Ask questions. Look into the team behind the offer and analyze the project.

Be wary of individuals on dating sites who attempt to educate you on investing in cryptocurrency.

And CAFC says to beware of scammers asking you to open and fund new crypto accounts because they will direct you to wallets they control.

Anyone who suspects they have been a victim of cybercrime or fraud should report it to the police and the CAFC.