Perth County OPP have issued a warning for area residents after a local resident was a victim of cryptocurrency investment fraud.
Police received a report just before 11:30 a.m. Tuesday from a Perth East resident who lost over $140,000.
The investigation is ongoing, but police also have some information to help people avoid this type of fraud, OPP said in a media release.
In 2022, Ontario residents lost more than $136,000 in investment related frauds and just over $20,000 in romance-related frauds.
Between five and 10 per cent of frauds are reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) or police.
Advance methods are being used by scammers to appear legit and trick people into trusting them.
Investment scam reports received by the OPP and the CAFC include initial coin offerings, Ponzi schemes, franchise opportunities, futures trading, multi-level marketing opportunities, mortgage investment opportunities and pump and dump schemes.
More recently, investment opportunities offer higher than normal, or true monetary, returns resulting in investors losing most, or all, of their money.
Most investment scam reports involve Ontario residents deciding to invest in cryptocurrency after seeing a deceptive ad on social media and it typically involves victims downloading a trading platform and transferring cryptocurrency into their trading account. Victims are not able to withdraw their funds in most cases and it is likely many of the trading platforms are fraudulent or controlled by fraudsters.
Investment fraud warning signs include:
- investment opportunities with higher than normal returns
- unsolicited telephone, email or social media investment offers
- displays of urgency so you don't miss out
- an individual met on a dating or social media website who attempts to convince you to invest into cryptocurrency
- a friend tells you about a cryptocurrency investment opportunity via social media or email
- telephone calls from crypto investment companies
- fraudulent ads posted on the internet or social media
- request to transfer your crypto investment to an alternate crypto address
Anyone who may have fallen victim to a fraud or know someone who has can contact local police to report the crime, and also report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) by phone at 1-888-495-8501 or online through the Fraud Reporting System (FRS), even if a financial loss did not occur.