The Winnipeg Police Services are helping the public know what to look out for when dealing with scam methods with a new accessible tool.
Back in October 2022, the WPS received a report about an individual victimized in a cryptocurrency investment scam. Over three months, the victim purchased 5.806 Bitcoin (BTC), valued at over $168,000 (at that time) in Canadian funds, and was directed on how to invest the funds.
The WPS Cyber Investigation Team began an investigation and determined that, unbeknownst to the victim, most of the BTC had been transferred overseas and converted to another cryptocurrency called Tether (USDT). Tether is a type of cryptocurrency pursuing a steady valuation.
As a result of this investigation, WPS recovered 114,000 in USDT crypto assets (approximately $155,000 in Canadian funds) and returned it to the victim.
In this particular instance, the victim’s funds were recovered. However, crypto assets are difficult to track and often impossible to recover.
Potential investors should ensure they deal with a reputable entity before making financial transactions.
The WPS reports that in 2022, Manitobans lost over $10.4 million through various forms of fraud. Half of these losses occurred as a result of investment scams.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre reported that more than any other type of fraud, investment scams contributed to more than a $300 million loss to Canadians.
The WPS is partnering with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre for March, which is Fraud Prevention Month, to launch a new web tool to create awareness about the top forms of fraud, including investment scams.
With the new tool, anyone can discover the Tricks of the trade: What's in a fraudster's toolbox? What's in yours?
Throughout March, agencies across Canada will post fraud prevention information on social media using the hashtag: #FPM2023.
If you or someone you know is a victim of fraud, make a report to the Winnipeg Police Service and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Many police reports can now be reported online.