You might want to think twice the next time someone offers you an outrageous return on a risky investment opportunity.
The B.C. Securities Commission, BC RCMP, and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre are urging residents to protect themselves from crypto investment fraud after people lost out on nearly 24 million dollars last year.
That’s almost triple the $8.5 million that was reported lost in 2021.
Cpl. Mike Desautels of the RCMP’s Federal & Serious Crime Unit told Vista Radio scammers will often use complex terms or jargon to sucker their victims.
“Sometimes it’s a tactic that the scammers are using to explore the mystique of new technologies like blockchains or artificial intelligence just to give a hint that they do have some expertise or authority but most times that is not the case,”
Desautels added if you get an offer that seems too good to be true, it probably is.
“They will promise you a guarantee of a high return on your investment. And, it’s important for people to remember that all investments carry some form of risks – they should never be encountering a guaranteed return at any time.”
“Maybe they can refer to some past patterns or returns that have occurred but there is never a guarantee for the future.”
Oftentimes, investment fraud often involves individuals or firms that aren’t registered to buy or sell investments.
“These people that are proposing certain types of investments with amazing returns are often unregistered. There is a way an investor can protect themselves from dealing with people that are unregistered,” added Desautels.
Douglas Muir who is the Director of Enforcement with the BC Securities Commission stated the amount of money lost to these types of scams is usually just a drop in the bucket.
“We often think that those numbers are low. Fraud is often underreported as people don’t want to admit they have been a victim of it. Also, I think the numbers are increasing because unfortunately some of these scammers are getting more sophisticated these days.”
Muir also explained why people across our province keep getting taken to the cleaners on these scams despite the fact crypto has struggled over the past year.
“There is advertising for it all over the place, people are exposed to crypto – people are talking about it and they get caught up in that hype and the scammers take advantage of that and prey upon people’s fear of missing out on the next big thing.”
“Scammers are using social media to push these scams and we know from our research that younger adults are often turning to social media for investment information and advice as well. It can be a dangerous spot for them to be in.”
Canadians lost a staggering $530 million to fraud and cybercrime in 2022, a 40 percent increase from 2021.
You can also head to AreTheyRegistered.ca to see if the people you are dealing with are able to buy and sell investments.