Sophisticated crypto scams are on the rise in BC. With information from the experts at the BC Securities Commission, here’s what you need to know about these costly scams.
Crypto scams: how they work
These scammers take advantage of the gaining popularity of crypto assets and target potential investors through email, texts, websites, and social media. They attempt to lure you into these scams using high-pressure sales tactics, promises of high returns with low risk, and by exploiting the fear or missing out on an amazing investment opportunity. The scam is sophisticated, and many are misled by the sleek sales pitch, professional looking websites, and fake endorsements.
The scammers direct you to a crypto asset trading platform to convert your funds to crypto assets. Once they do this, you are encouraged to transfer the crypto assets to a fake, third-party investment website to fund an “account”. You may be told to download software that gives the scammers remote access to your computer to “help” them buy the crypto assets and transfer the funds.
The scammers will make it appear like the investments are growing in value quickly through manipulated statements on the fake website and may encourage you to deposit more funds. Some websites will let you withdraw a portion of your money to build trust and entice you to invest more, but any request to withdraw all assets will fail. When pressed, the scammers often disappear and ignore all attempts to reach them.
Crypto scams: what to watch out for
- Learn the red flags of fraud
- Check the Canadian Securities Administrators Investor Alerts page for a list of firms and individuals to avoid
- Find out if the firm or individual you’re dealing with is registered by checking by visiting AreTheyRegistered.ca
- If the firm or individual is registered, call them using the phone number listed in the Register to confirm that they are who they say they are
- Do research on the company and verify the contact information with the financial institution or firm directly.
- Examine the website closely. Check for spelling errors or variations of the company name in the website or email address, including adding extra letters to make the website look similar. Fake websites may often have odd-looking (or low resolution) logos that do not match the logo of the real company
- Do not download software that gives anyone remote access to your computer
- Never give in to pressure or blackmail: transfer your money only after taking the time to think carefully
- Never share personal information or make any payment before performing these checks
Looking for more?
While we like to share helpful information, investments are outside our legal authority. You can, however, learn more about crypto assets with this Guide from the BC Securities Commission. You can also report an investment concern or file a complaint through the BCSC. You should also always report fraud to your local police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Did you like this? You might like these posts too!
How to spot scam texts like a pro (with examples)
Watch out for investment fraud
What to do if you see unauthorized charges on your account
Top 6 tips to protect you from scammers
Were you a victim of a scam? Watch out for the “recovery pitch”
About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.