The Saskatchewan RCMP is warning the public of an unusually high number of scam calls involving cryptocurrency reported across the province in 2022.
Swift Current reported 105 victim reports of cryptocurrency fraud losses totaling more than $361,000.
Maidstone RCMP only reported 37 calls, but losses totaled more than $570,000.
Saskatchewan Crypto Coordinator Const. Tyson Maxwell said scammers are often located in international locations or hide behind nearly untraceable IP addresses, making it extremely difficult to investigate reports.
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“There are thousands of different cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency companies in the market today. Some are legitimate businesses, while others may have weak online security or are completely fraudulent,” Maxwell said in an RCMP statement.
RCMP officers said attackers often pretend to be from a government agency, demanding payment of unpaid taxes or arrest warrants, or luring victims through bogus investment opportunities.
“Once a crypto transaction is complete, it cannot be undone,” Maxwell explained. “If the investment sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Scammers also create fake learning programs to convince victims to send cryptocurrency. They require a victim to send money to learn how to trade cryptocurrency and profit from the business. Often they pretend that the first transfer never happened and ask them to resend it.
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The RCMP also provided some of the warning signs used to identify cryptocurrency scams:
- investment opportunities with above normal returns
- unsolicited investment offers by phone, email or social media
- emergency displays so you don’t miss a thing
- suspicious messages from a trusted source, such as a bank or family member
- cryptocurrency investments that are not registered with provincial or national securities authorities
- contact pages that include an illegitimate address
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