Cryptocurrency fraud grew 400% in Canada, RCMP says

RCMP Major Crimes Unit investigators are in the community of Grand Rapids investigating the death of a teen as a homicide. File / Global News

Fraud is more prevalent than ever, according to RCMP.

With the rise of cryptocurrency, criminals have opened a new avenue of taking peoples money.

“Cryptocurrency fraud is increasing dramatically in Canada, with a difference of more than 400 per cent between 2017 and 2020,” said Sgt. Kris Clark, a federal serious and organized crime RCMP officer.

“Canadians lost nearly $11 million through digital currency scams alone, in the first eight months of 2020.”

Read more: Vancouver victims lose almost $2 million in cryptocurrency scams in one week

Scammers and fraudsters tend to use similar tactics to rid people of their money, regardless of the method used for the actual transfer of funds, police say.

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They will often pressure the target, or threaten with extortion or violence, in order to get them to pay quickly,” Clark said.

“They will often identify themselves as a government official or police officer to increase the level of jeopardy if immediate action is not taken by the target to pay.”

RCMP say to protect yourself from scams, never give out your personal information, don’t be afraid to say ‘no’, and verify that the organization or person you’re dealing with is legitimate before taking any action.

Read more: With the high price of Bitcoin, are Sask. criminals cashing in?

It is important to understand that Canadian government agencies or police do not demand payment through the exchange of cryptocurrency, said Sgt. Raju Mitra, A BC RCMP federal policing prevention and engagement officer.

Also, even urgent demands by legitimate agencies will provide convenient, secure options and reasonable time to pay.

For more information, you can head over to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website.

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