The news stories are enticing. Bitcoin valuation reaches new highs. Eretheum, Dogecoin up 10%.

There is a lot of interest in investing in cryptocurrency; but at the same time, scammers are capitalizing on that fact, and many are taking advantage of investors’ lack of knowledge on how to invest in this market.

In recent months six complaints have come into Delta Police about residents being scammed when they tried to invest in crypto currencies. Unfortunately their losses have been significant, ranging from just under $5,000 to over $100,000 in one file. Most of the files have been in August, which has led to Delta Police issuing this warning.

“If you are going to invest in cryptocurrency, be very cautious,” says Constable Dustin Classen, of Delta Police’s Cybercrimes section. He points out that in the files that were reported, there is no chance for the investors to recoup their losses.

There are a number of common factors in the reported files:

  1. In most files the scammers contacted the would-be investors through a variety of online platforms, from dating sites to chat apps.  An online “relationship” was established.
  2. Investors clicked on an ad in two files, which lead them to an illegitimate company.
  3. Investors were typically encouraged to e-transfer funds from their bank accounts to mobile wallets, and from there to unknown accounts. In some cases the scammers walked the victims through the process online, even having the victim download software to allow the scammer access to their computer.
  4. When victims tried to withdraw their “profits” or investment, the money was either gone, or the victim was informed they needed to pay considerable additional fees to access their money.

“I would advise investors to check the url or domain or the investment website, and do their homework,” says Cst. Classen. “Is the investment firm well established, and reputable?”

The British Columbia Securities Commission also offers good advice and tips for investors on their website, including a video which explains the scams in greater detail.

Investors can check specific investment companies, to determine if they are subject to investigation by the BC Securities Commission.

And Canadian Securities Administrators runs a site to check the registration of securities industry professionals –

Tips on investing in Cryptocurrency:

  1. Cryptocurrency transactions are not reversible. Once the funds are sent, they cannot be recalled.
  2. Before you transfer any money, research the name of the investment company online and see if anyone else has been scammed.
  3. Do not rely on investment advice from someone online who you’ve never met. There’s a very strong chance they’re a scammer.

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