A Wellington County resident has lost around $500,000 in a cryptocurrency scam, according to Wellington County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).
On Thursday, OPP said the resident is from the Township of Wellington North.
Over a period of six months, the victim invested approximately $500,000 with a fraudulent online cryptocurrency investment firm in which they had daily contact with, OPP said.
According to OPP const. Jacob Unger, in a fraud like this, what’s common is the alleged investor or company will promise very high returns, usually 100 percent, and have an app or account that you can log into and shows it can show you now have a million dollars.
“To access it, you need to send in more money, and then you can get it,” said Unger.
He added: “They’ve created fake platforms or accounts where it looks like you’re seeing your investment portfolio, but it is in fact all fraudulent.”
Unger was not able to say how often these types of scams occur, but said this is certainly one of the largest losses this year.
“Our crime unit is assisting in the investigation, but it comes down to anyone to just take a few steps to protect themselves when it comes to online investments or investing money,” said Unger.
Wellington County OPP are encouraging residents to visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) to learn about fraud prevention.
According to the CAFC, the usage of cryptocurrency in fraud increased by 238 per cent from 2020 to 2021.
The CAFC said in 2020 an estimated $23,009,414 was lost through cryptocurrency scams. That number increased to $77,872,155 in 2021.
Since 2017, CAFC estimates $122,698,484 has been lost in cryptocurrency scams.
“Further, the expansion of cash-to-cryptocurrency Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in Canada has streamlined certain forms of fraud. Canada currently has the second most Bitcoin ATMs in the world, with nearly 2,500 ATM locations,” the CAFC said. “In certain cases, fraudsters convince victims to convert fiat currency into cryptocurrency using ATMs, and then deposit the funds into the fraudster’s wallet via the ATM.”
“Globally, Canadians rank near the top in terms of length of time spent online and are putting more personal information online than ever before,” the CAFC 2021 annual report said. “While this trend can be partially attributed to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the digital environment is expected to continue growing.”
“Globally, Canadians rank near the top in terms of length of time spent online and are putting more personal information online than ever before,” the CAFC 2021 annual report says. “While this trend can be partially attributed to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the digital environment is expected to continue growing.”