Crypto-currency investment scams on the rise: police

Crypto-currency investment scam

Ottawa police are warning people to be wary when handing over any money to invest in crypto-currencies as they’ve seen an increase in scams. In most cases, the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) said in its warning on Wednesday, March 23, suspects advertise investment broker services on a variety of social media platforms. When the victim reaches out for information, they receive regular calls, test messages and emails from the suspect. This leads people to trust the investment broker and, as directed, victims open an account at an online crypto-currency exchange service and make a purchase, police explains.“ The purchase of the crypto-currency is legitimate,” Sgt. Chantal Arsenault of the Ottawa Police Organized Fraud Section, said. “However, when you turn your funds over to a third party who is a fraudster, they move your money, all the while leading you to believe they’re earning you a large profit. But that’s not the case. ”Victims are given access to a fraudulent online investment account where they can log in with a username and password to watch their portfolio increase in value. “his is how scammers entice their victims to keep investing,” Arsenault added. “In most cases, victims don’t realize that the investment is fraudulent until they try to withdraw some of their money. Sometimes this is several weeks or months after the investment is made. ”Suspects use delaying tactics to postpone the withdrawal of funds and will tell the victim there is a large penalty fee in the thousands of dollars to access their investment. “After they pay the penalty, they find all their money is gone,” Arsenault said. “These funds are laundered using international crypto-currency money exchanges with no governing body, often out of reach for authorities, so it’s next to impossible to get the money back. ”Warning signs it’s most likely a scam, according to OPS:

  • Brokers use WhatsApp texting app to contact you;
  • The investor contacts you by using a variety of email addresses and phone numbers;
  • The text messages and reports contain grammar or spelling mistakes;
  • An atypical formal salutation is used;
  • The promise of large returns on your investment. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

“Don’t answer an ad on social media,” Arsenault added, “and always do your research. Would you hand your money over to someone on the street if they told you they can get you a big return on your investment? ”Investment brokers can be checked through the Better Business Bureau, and people can always ask for references. Legitimate brokers and companies have their contact information and websites you can search for independently. Also try searing phone numbers, broker names, company names and addresses with the word “scam” added to the search, Arsenault advises — other victims are likely to post warnings.