Winnipeg Police Services (WPS) are warning the public of an online romance scam where criminal online partners persuade the other to put money into a fake cryptocurrency investment.

This morning the WPS sent out a news release with details of a romance scam/investment fraud method that has been reported by the public.

The method includes a criminal actor reaching out to people unsolicitedly online, normally reported through virtual dating apps and social media apps. The actor then develops relationships with the victims as a way to gain their trust before tricking them into investing in a fake cryptocurrency website.

The release says that "victims are led to believe the scammer has become wealthy by trading cryptocurrencies and is willing to show the victim their 'secrets of success.' The victims are then fooled into transferring their funds to criminals."

  • The victims create an account with a legitimate cryptocurrency exchange.
  • The victims then create an account with an illegitimate cryptocurrency website with all the same features and appearances as an investment website or app, but no connection to any real investments.
  • The victims then transfer their funds from the legitimate cryptocurrency exchange to a wallet address associated with the illegitimate website
  • The victims can log in to the illegitimate website and are led to believe they have earned significant profits very quickly. They are encouraged to invest more or are requested to pay additional fees; however, they can never withdraw their funds.

Police say that these scammers have used "sophisticated terms and emotional manipulation to build victim's trust."

More information on the romance scam can be found here.