Saskatchewan RCMP are warning the public of an unusually high number of scam calls involving cryptocurrency being reported across the province in 2022.
Swift Current reported 105 reports of victims of cryptocurrency fraud losses totalling more than $361,000.
Maidstone RCMP only reported 37 calls, but the losses totalled more than $570, 000.
Saskatchewan crypto co-ordinator Const. Tyson Maxwell said the scammers are often located at international locations or hiding behind nearly untraceable IP addresses, making investigating the reports extremely difficult.
“There are thousands of different cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency companies in the market today. Some are legitimate companies, while others may have weak online security or are completely fraudulent,” Maxwell said in an RCMP statement.
RCMP officers have stated that the perpetrators are often pretending to be from a government agency, demanding payments for outstanding taxes or arrest warrants, or luring victims through fake investment opportunities.
“Once a crypto transaction has been complete, it cannot be reversed,” Maxwell explained. “If the investment looks too good to be true, it probably is.”
Scammers are also creating fake learning programs to convince victims to send cryptocurrency. They demand that a victim send money to learn how to trade cryptocurrency and profit from the business. Often, they claim that the first transfer never arrived and ask them to send it again.
RCMP also provided some of the warning signs used to identify cryptocurrency scams:
investment opportunities with higher-than-normal returns
unsolicited telephone, email or social media investment offers
displays of urgency so you don’t miss out
suspicious messages from a trusted source, like a bank or family member
cryptocurrency investments that are not registered with provincial or national securities regulators
contact pages that include an illegitimate address