Guelph police are concerned about the growing number of cryptocurrency-related scams, which amounted to $ 1 million this year alone.
In a press release, the Guelph Police Service noted that these types of scams are difficult to investigate.
“These may include investment scams, in which scammers attempt to lure people into crypto investments using fraudulent social media and websites,” the statement said.
Police said the most recent trend involves someone claiming to represent Canada’s Border Services. The caller reportedly notices that a package has arrived at the border bearing the victim’s name and that it contains illegal substances. To avoid arrest, several Guelph victims were asked to withdraw cash and deposit it at a Bitcoin ATM.
Fraud investigators said that these types of crimes are “international and relatively untraceable and anonymous.”
Police are urging residents to learn about cryptocurrency scams and have made presentations to community groups in an attempt to reduce them.
Guelph Police have seen a general increase in online scams and issued this advisory for the most common to watch out for:
- Cryptocurrency investment scams: Scammers are using social media and scam websites to lure people into crypto investments. Request information about the investment. Do your own research on the offer and feasibility of the project. Check if the company is registered using the National Registration Tool.
- Online shopping: Scammers posing as genuine sellers and posting fake ads for items that don’t exist. The list price of almost any item (for example, event ticket, rental, vehicle, or puppy) is usually too good to be true. Whenever possible, exchange products in person or use your credit card for payment.
- Gift cards: Gift cards are not intended for payments and will not be required by any legitimate business or organization; especially with time pressure.
- Phishing text messages and emails: Fraudulent messages that claim to come from a recognizable source (eg, financial institution, telecommunications company, service provider, shipping company) that ask you to submit or confirm your information. They can even include a malicious link.
- Extortion scams: Scammers can call claiming to be the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). They try to make you believe that a package addressed to you was intercepted by Canada Post that contained illegal substances. They will ask for personal information, including your SIN, date of birth, name, address, and account balances. By providing your personal information to scammers, you run the risk of identity fraud. They will also instruct you to withdraw money from your bank accounts and then ask you to deposit it into a “secure account.” In rare cases, suspects may pose as police officers and report to your home to collect the money. The scam is similar to the phone extortion scams previously reported by Service Canada, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and RCMP.