Police issue warning after B.C. senior loses $7.5 million in cryptocurrency scam
BURNABY, B.C. — A senior from Burnaby, B.C., was scammed out of more than $7.5 million dollars in a cryptocurrency ruse, prompting the latest warning from police about cryptocurrency-based fraud schemes.
Police say the elaborate con lasted several months and included the victim being scammed out of money both in the original fraud and then by someone claiming they could help get her money back.
An RCMP statement says the victim told police she received a Mandarin language text message in the Spring of 2022 from someone looking for information related to her personal business history.
The pair spoke frequently by phone, text, email, and over a chat app until the scammer began convincing the victim to invest millions of dollars through an online cryptocurrency trading app.
Police say the app she was using was a fake made to look legitimate and when she realized she couldn't withdraw money, the fraudster disappeared.
Police say the victim was then contacted by someone else who said he could help get her money back and threatened her until she sent more in what turned out to be a second scam.
Police say the case is still under investigation.
Cpl. Philip Ho with the Burnaby RCMP’s economic crime unit says police are sharing the story to protect others from falling victim to similar scams.
“These scammers went to great lengths over many months to defraud this senior and convince her these were legitimate investments,” Ho said in a statement.
“These types of frauds often go unreported, but it’s important that victims come forward to police so we can investigate and help support victims, who are at a higher risk of being re-victimized once they have been defrauded by a scam.”
Police say warning signs commonly seen in cryptocurrency frauds include suspects providing victims with excuses to use when withdrawing money from the bank, an unusually high return on investments in a short amount of a time, and no formal investment contract.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 27, 2023.
The Canadian Press