More than half a million dollars lost to fraud in Surrey this year

SURREY RCMP are reminding the public to be aware of investment scams after a persistent number of reports throughout this year.

Since January, Surrey RCMP have received 59 reports of fraud involving crypto currency totaling approximately $612,748 lost by unsuspecting victims.

The most commonly reported fraud still remains Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) / police scams which accounted for 25 of the total reports. The scams usually involve fraudsters attempting to pass themselves off as someone in authority. They may impersonate a police officer or an employee of a business, financial institution or government agency such as the CRA.

The most significant financial losses, totalling $375,200, have resulted from scams related to cryptocurrency investments and linked accounts being compromised.

A number of the frauds related to cryptocurrency investments involved victims that willingly transfered funds to unverified sources for the purpose of purchasing cryptocurrency, most commonly Bitcoin. On multiple occasions, victims have interacted with strangers online who suggested the victim download an application to purchase bitcoin, which is later determined to be fraudulent.

The RCMP say that your best defense against becoming a victim is knowledge and awareness. If you choose to purchase any kind of cryptocurrency, ensure that you use a major trading platform or online exchange. “Be aware that cryptocurrencies are not insured and if your money is stolen, you will not be reimbursed,” warned Constable Brad Charpentier of Economic Cybercrime Section on Monday.

The RCMP say this is a reminder for everyone to be vigilant. Don’t provide your personal information to people who call, email or text you. Use strong passwords and security questions on your email and all online accounts.

Signs of a scam
* Unsolicited phone call, email or text.
* Urgent or threatening language used.
* Request for personal information such as name, address, birthdate, social insurance number, credit card or banking information.
* Serious unfounded claims such as: you will be arrested, a warrant has been issued for your arrest, a lawsuit has been filed against you, you are getting a refund, or you will be deported.
* Demand for payment by e-transfer, pre-paid credit card, gift cards, or online currency (e.g., Bitcoin).
* Unknown persons in a chat room suggesting you download a specific app for purchasing cryptocurrency.
* Unknown persons requesting you invest in their business using cryptocurrency.

Whether you made a payment or not, report scams to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or www.antifraudcentre.ca.

Anyone with more information is asked to contact the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502. If you wish to make an anonymous report, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or  www.solvecrime.ca.