Losses from crypto scams reach historic levels in B.C. as young people targeted | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Losses from crypto scams reach historic levels in B.C. as young people targeted

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British Columbians are being urged to learn the signs of a scam to protect themselves from crypto investment fraud, especially young adult investors.

Last year, a combined loss of almost $24 million in crypto scams were reported in B.C., almost triple the $8.5 million the year before, according to data from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Canadians lost $530 million to fraud and cybercrime in 2022, a 40% increase from year before.

Scammers are using the popularity of crypto currency to target vulnerable investors particularly on social media, the B.C. RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit said in a media release.

Not only are young adult investors more likely to use social media for information, they are taking a more risky approach with 18% of them holding only crypto investments, according to the B.C. Security Commission.

An advertising campaign is underway to educate the public on how to spot crypto, and other online investment scams.

Some red flags for fraud are promises of guaranteed high returns on an investment, complicated language that is hard to understand, unregistered sales people, unsolicited offers and pressure to buy.

"If promises of high returns on an investment seem too good to be true, you’re probably right,” Kurt Bedford with B.C. RCMP said in the release. “Although our dedicated investigators at the B.C. RCMP Financial Integrity unit work hard to solve some of the most complex financial crime related offences, investor education and prevention still remain the first line of defence against becoming victims of investment fraud.”

READ MORE: B.C. senior who pretended to be a mortgage broker on hook for $60K

You can also reduce your risk when buying and selling crypto assets by using crypto trading platforms that are registered with Canadian securities regulators and avoiding platforms that are banned.

Anyone who suspects they have been a victim of cybercrime or investment fraud should report it to their local police, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or to the B.C. Security Commission.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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