The following is a message from The South Frontenac Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) regarding an increase in reports of scams related to investing in cryptocurrency in the area:
The South Frontenac Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has seen a steady increase in reports of scams related to investing in cryptocurrency.
These scams involve fraudsters setting up a fake cryptocurrency investment company. These companies usually have a very convincing online presence with a professional-looking website, social media accounts and reviews and testimonials by “satisfied customers”. Once they lure potential victims they will use high-pressure sales tactics to convince the victims to invest ever-increasing amounts of money.
Here are some tips to avoid falling victim to cryptocurrency investment fraud:
- Be suspicious of any investment that promises abnormally high returns in a short amount of time
- Do your research: search online for scam complaints related to the company, and don’t limit yourself to just Canada, many of these companies operate internationally.
- Search the business registration authority in whatever country the company claims to be located in to ensure that it is actually a properly registered business.
- If they claim to be associated with a legitimate company, such as a well-known investment firm or cryptocurrency exchange, contact this company to see if that relationship actually exists.
- Never share the private keys for your cryptocurrency addresses or the recovery seed phrases for your cryptocurrency wallets with anyone.
- If you store these keys on an internet connected device keep it in a password protected folder or document.
- If you have an account with a cryptocurrency exchange, do not store your cryptocurrency long term in your exchange wallet. If the exchange is compromised through a hack, or a malicious employee, all those funds can be lost. Store your cryptocurrency in a separate address that only you control until you need to convert it to another cryptocurrency or fiat currency.
If you are, or suspect you may be, a victim of cryptocurrency investment fraud:
- Report the crime to your local police of jurisdiction
- Notify your bank
- Save any information that may assist in the investigation such as bank account numbers that funds were transferred to, bitcoin addresses provided to you by the fraudsters, copies of any correspondence between you and fraudsters, etc.
- Change passwords on all of your online accounts, as any links or software provided by the fraudsters may have contained data-stealing malware.
- Consider investing in identity fraud protection
- You may come across advertisements for services that offer to recover money lost through cryptocurrency investment fraud. Note that many of these services are scams as well and should not be trusted.
For more information on cryptocurrency fraud visit The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website: antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/