Vancouver Police are warning the public to be on the alert for cryptocurrency scams after victims say they lost nearly $ 2 million in a single week.
In a statement Friday, Const. Tania Visintin said that scammers often prey on those who are looking for love or those who hope to make a quick buck.
“Predators will often harness two powerful human emotions – greed and love,” Visintin said. “Victims are usually drawn to the idea that they will be part of an opportunity to make money or, in other cases, that they will be doing a friend or lover a favor. “
She warned that there were two types of scams to watch out for, both of which ended in the victim losing large sums of money.
Romantic con artists groom their victims over time on social media or dating sites, indicating that they have a romantic interest in the victim, the statement said. They then convince their target to invest in the cryptocurrency, in which case they steal the victim’s money.
Scam investors target victims who hope for a quick return on their investment. When the victim tries to withdraw their money, they cannot do so. This is when the suspect ends all communication and disappears, the statement said.
Police say these types of frauds are very difficult to investigate and the chances of locating and identifying a suspect are low, as the suspects are often based overseas.
And investigators say crimes often go unreported.
“Victims often feel ashamed or embarrassed, which makes them reluctant to report to the police,” Visintin said.
Anyone who has noticed anything suspicious about personal money transfers to someone they meet online is urged to call their local police department.