Bitcoin and gift card scams
Scammers tend to use similar tactics to take your money regardless of how the actual transfer of funds happen.
Even if you don't normally use cryptocurrency, commonly known as Bitcoin, scammers are good at enticing, pressuring, threatening or extorting their targets into sending them bitcoin from an ATM. Once the coins are in the scammer’s wallet, the victim’s money is gone and unlikely to be retrieved.
Unfortunately, scammers often target victims of fraud a second or third time with the promise of recovering money.
What the scams may look like?
Phone call from a government official or police officer
Scammers often identify themselves as a government official or police officer to increase the level of jeopardy if immediate action is not taken.
- They spoof their number to show up as local police, or a government agency to convince the target that the call is legitimate.
- Threats of arrest, lawsuit, penalty, deportation, or immediate suspension of services/benefits if payment is not made immediately.
- Canadian government agencies or police do not demand payment through the exchange of cryptocurrency.
- If someone is claiming to be from a government agency or bank and is asking for these forms of payment, it is a scam.
- If you are unsure if you are speaking with the government agency or bank, hang up and call the agency directly through their listed phone number.
- Legitimate companies would not direct you to ATM machines or send you a QR code to make a payment.
Investments with high returns
Through social media, scammers lure in victims by promising high levels of return.
- The scammers present themselves as an old friend of the victim.
- Someone in a chat room suggests you download a specific app for purchasing Cryptocurrency.
- Someone the victim met via social media requests the victim invest in their business using Cryptocurrency.
- After receiving a nice return via a legitimate website, victims were prompted to invest a larger sum via a similar but fake website.
- Call someone to discuss before making any decisions.
- Don’t let your heart guide you into making a financial decision.
- Only discuss financial matters with those you trust. Never discuss them in public places where you can be over-heard. Do not post them on social media.
- If it’s too good to be true, it is.
- If you choose to purchase any kind of Cryptocurrency, use a major trading platform or online exchange.
Characteristics of a crypto scam:
- Promises of guaranteed high returns on an investment: All investments have risk. Investors should question any investments that have a guaranteed return.
- Complicated jargon and language that is difficult to understand: Scammers often exploit the mystique of complex new technologies, like blockchain or artificial intelligence, to show their expertise and authority.
- Unregistered salesperson: Many investment frauds involve individual or firms that aren’t registered to buy or sell investments. Always check AreTheyRegistered.ca before investing.
- Unsolicited offers: Be extremely cautious if you receive unsolicited communication over email, by phone, pop-up ads, videos on the internet, or direct messages on social media.
- Pressure to buy: Scammers may try to create a false sense of urgency to take advantage of an investment before it’s too late. Take your time and research an investment opportunity. Ask questions and talk to a registered professional before deciding.
- Unsolicited phone calls, email or text.
- Urgent or threatening language used.
- Demand for payment by e-transfer, pre-paid credit card, gift cards, or online currency (ex. Bitcoin).
- Request for personal information such as name, address, birthdate, social insurance number, credit card or banking information.
- An unusual high return of investments in a short amount of a time.
- Suspects messaging victims at all times of the day taking interest in their personal life.
- Suspects providing victims with excuses to use when going to the bank to withdraw money.
- No formal investment contract or information relating to the product you will be purchasing.
- Never give out your personal information, especially to an unsolicited caller.
- Don’t be afraid to say no if the caller asks you to send them money or requires up-front fees to receive a prize or gift.
- Always verify that the organization you’re dealing with is legitimate before you take any action.
- Keep your valuables and financial information in a safe location, like a safety deposit box at a financial institution.
- Be cautious and do your homework when you invest. Only deal with reputable brokers.
To stay up to date with the latest scams, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
- Date modified: