Photo: The Canadian Press
A sign advertises a Bitcoin ATM at a store in Halifax on Wednesday, February 4, 2020.
Police say cryptocurrency scams cost victims in the Vancouver area around $ 2 million in just a week and investigators believe frauds are on the rise.
Vancouver Police Const. Tania Visintin says she is aware of at least four active cases where large sums of money have been lost.
She says a single victim was defrauded of more than $ 500,000 in another case last year when suspects posing as Service Canada representatives convinced them their social insurance number had been compromised.
Visintin says police believe the number of scams is on the rise and the total is underreported, possibly because victims are ashamed or afraid to seek help.
Police say victims are generally drawn to promises that they will be part of a money-making opportunity or convinced that they will do a friend or romantic interest a favor by purchasing cryptocurrency for they.
Because cryptocurrency frauds increasingly involve investment or romance scams, Visintin says family members should share details with loved ones to make sure everyone is. informed.
“Another unfortunate trend that we are noticing is that the victims tend to be of Asian descent,” Visintin said at a press conference on Friday.
There is no hard evidence of why community members are being targeted, Visintin said. Not all of the victims are from this community, but she said language barriers or fear of authorities may play a role.
Cryptocurrency is digital or virtual currency, like Bitcoin, which is essentially an online version of cash.
Frauds using cryptocurrency are difficult to investigate, Visintin said, as suspects are often based outside of Canada and mask their identities through sophisticated and secure online connections, making it difficult to locate and identify them. identification.