VANCOUVER –


Authorities are warning the public to be wary of who they meet online.


“Sophisticated” scammers are luring B.C. residents into what the B.C. RCMP calls “crypto-asset scams,” and victims have lost a combined total of millions of dollars.


In a joint news release with local police, the B.C. Securities Commission and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, the RCMP said Wednesday that $3.5 million has been lost to scammers in the first eight months of 2021.


That’s more than three times the amount lost last year, the CAFC said, and the total may be higher, as only an estimated five per cent of victims report these types of crimes.


RCMP media relations officer Sgt. Kris Clark with Federal and Serious Organized Crime said he has personally been receiving calls from all across the country with reports of cryptocurrency investment scams.


“The scheme here is that the person will never actually invest in a legitimate site or app,” he said. “They’re sending it directly to the fraudster’s wallets, or they’re sending the money through some type of wire transfer service which is virtually untraceable.”


In a warning to potential targets of these scammers, the group outlined how these scams operate, urging anyone involved in something similar to be cautious.


HOW THE SCAMS WORK


In one example, a victim is approached through a dating app or social media site. The scammer appears to build a relationship online with the…

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