Winnipeg police are trying to educate people about bitcoin scams before it’s too late.
Bitcoin is a popular cryptocurrency that police say fraudsters can use for the wrong reasons.
“When it comes time to getting your money from you, they way that they’ve adjusted their methods with the availability of cryptocurrency, the availability to go in and convert your cash to cryptocurrency, that’s becoming easier,” Sgt. Shaun Veldman from the Winnipeg Police Financial Crimes Unit said.
“They’re now directing people that’s the way they want to get paid.”
“They’ll email them a QR code or the instructions on how to do the conversion in cryptocurrency and that’s kind of the change we’re seeing on the police side,” Veldman said.
Police want people to know how much money is being lost because of these scams. In 2017, victims in Canada lost $2.5 million to fraudsters who utilized cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, as part of their scam.
Kevin Carthy, a Winnipeg bitcoin expert, says he’s seen employment scams increasing.
“What someone will do is they’ll post on traditional types of job sites and then the scammers will get people to apply for a regular kind of job, they’ll tell them various types of jobs, and then… they’ll send money to their bank account,” said Carthy.
“Later on it’ll turn out that the funds that were send were through some sort of identity theft… and it’ll end up getting reversed on their bank account, and they’ll have to pay that back.”
There are many ways to learn more about fraud prevention in March.
Winnipeg Police Service events for the public include:
– National Twitter event – March 14, 12 – 2:30 pm
– Fifth Annual “Shred It” event – March 29, 11 a.m to 2 p.m, at St. Vital Centre in the parking lot outside Silver City and CF Polo Park in the South parking lot facing Portage Avenue. People are allowed a maximum of two bags or boxes per person for this free event.
If you or someone you know is involved in a potential scam involving cryptocurrency, contact Winnipeg Police to make a report or go to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website.