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Fraud: romances and investments cost Canadians $289 million in two years

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In 2020 and 2021, scams associated with investments jumped by 28.15%, and those due to romance scams by dating scheme, by 8%, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center.

Nonetheless, it’s the amount of money taken from the victims that raises eyebrows: in 2020, romance scams cost a total of $27,989,750 to those cheated. This amount more than doubled in 2021, to $64,604,718.

Romantic frauds

2020

2021

1546 reports

1928 reports

$27,989,750 loss

$64,604,718 in loss

This tendency is even stronger for fraudulent investments. The amount defrauded in 2021 ($163,924,664) is 4.89 times that of 2020 ($33,466,885).

Investment Fraud

2020

2021

969 reports

3442 reports

$33,466,885 loss

$163,924,664 loss

The two go hand in hand

The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) issued a statement on Valentine’s Day to warn of the link between these two types of scams.

Fraudsters are using increasingly sophisticated means to target Canadians, especially as we spend more time onlineunderlined the President of the Canadian Securities Administrators and Chairman and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers, Louis Morrisset.

Malicious people are increasingly using social media and dating sites to find new victims, he says. in order to lead them through manipulation to establish virtual friendly or romantic relationships.

Fraudsters then demand money to invest once they have gained the trust of their victims.

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These investments are often encouraged by the promise of advantageous returns published on the websites of fraudulent trading platforms, warn Canadian Securities Administrators. After building a relationship online, [les escrocs] hold out an investment opportunity and convince the victim to make an upfront payment.

They frequently manage to persuade her to continue investing, which can lead to substantial losses, add the Canadian Securities Administrators. Often [la] victim continues to invest until it becomes clear that the funds cannot be withdrawn.

Cryptocurrencies on the Radar

This way of operating, i.e. mixing love with investment, is also evident in the rise in popularity of cryptoassets, such as bitcoin.

In Edmonton, this type of scam jumped from 4 reports in 2019, to 87 in 2021.

Once again, the amount of money stolen has also increased, from $84,000 in 2019 to $5.29 million in 2021, the Edmonton City Police Department said in a statement.

A number of these investment frauds started with a virtual romantic relationship that progressed to discussing cryptocurrencies and eventually remittances.testifies the detective of the investigation unit to the cybercrime of the City of Police of the City of Edmonton, Dana Ghering.

It’s everywhere: there are even ads on the radio for investing, and since everyone seems to be talking about it, people can feel like they’re missing an opportunity and dive [dans cet univers] without having taken the time to do research. »

A quote from Dana Ghering, Cybercrime Detective, Edmonton

The Canadian Securities Administrators advise to exercise more caution with regard to this type of investment. Because, once the funds are paid, it is almost impossible to get reimbursed, and fraudsters can disappear without leaving a trace or a penny.

Some tips from Detective Dana Ghering:

  • Ask the person you meet on social media to meet them in person or via video call to confirm their identity.
  • Do an online search for the phone number or physical address presented by the potential scammer to see if they actually live where they claim to be. Don’t hesitate to call this number to see if the right person picks up.
  • Do not share any personal information until you confirm the person’s identity.
  • Be careful if the return of the investment is high in addition to being guaranteed risk-free, as investments always have risk potential.
  • Resist the temptation to invest on the spot, scammers like to create a sense of urgency.

You can also consult the CVMA search engine to find out if the person or entity you are proposing to invest is registered with these organizations.Have (New window)Have.

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