Investment scams on the rise in the Okanagan

Kelowna Police Services. File / Global News

If it looks too good to be true, it probably is, Mounties are reminding Kelowna residents.

Police said they have recently received a number of fraud reports involving investment scams that have cost the victims a significant amount of financial loss.

According to RCMP, suspects will offer a victim an investment opportunity that has a great rate of return in a short period of time.

“These opportunities are often unsolicited and may appear to have some legitimacy but will not hold up to scrutiny,” RCMP said.

Click to play video: 'Victim loses $650K to real estate scam'
Victim loses $650K to real estate scam

“Examples of investment opportunities being used by the suspect(s) are: cryptocurrency, art, comic books, sports memorabilia and other such items.”

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The suspects are able to complete the fraudulent transactions by offering a unique investment opportunity and will provide contracts that appear legitimate offering a higher rate of return than what might be available with traditional investments.

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“Once the first investment is made the suspect will offer additional opportunities and roll the original investment into the new opportunity inflating the value,” RCMP said.

Click to play video: 'Avoiding falling victim to scams'
Avoiding falling victim to scams

RCMP explained that once the victim asks for a return on their investment they are told the money is tied up and additional funds are required for the release of the money due to things like tax implications or issues with international borders.

The suspects at times do provide some money but never as much as the original investment.

“The Kelowna RCMP is reminding people that when considering an investment opportunity to carefully research the investment and the individual or firm offering the investment,” Const. Mike Della-Paolera said.

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If you feel you’re a victim of a scam, fraud or cybercrime, contact your local police and also report to the CAFC online or by phone at 1-888-495-8501. If you’re not a victim, you should still report the incident to the CAFC.

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