Calgarians have lost over $22 million to cryptocurrency scams in 2023

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Calgary police want to caution and educate the public about the red flags of cryptocurrency scams after Calgarians were swindled out of more than $22.5 million in 340 reported cryptocurrency scams so far this year. Compare that with 2022, when Calgarians lost around $14 million in 321 reported cryptocurrency scams and police say this number is only a fraction of what the actual losses are since the scams are vastly underreported. On a national scale, over $371 million was lost to cyber-enabled fraud in 2022, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. The most common scams are investments that promise a large return in a short timeframe, employment opportunities, romance scams and scammers posing as financial institutions or government agencies threatening a consequence or penalty if money is not paid. “It is important for citizens to know that while cryptocurrency can be used legitimately, fraudsters often lure victims with promises of a quick way to make money,” says Staff Sgt. Graeme Smiley of the Calgary Police Service cyber forensics unit. “During Cyber Security Awareness Month, our goal is to help citizens spot the signs of a potential scam. For those who have fallen victim to a cryptocurrency fraud, we now have the Blockchain Investigative Team who are dedicated to investigating these types of scams.” The Calgary Police Service reminds citizens: Only scammers will demand full payment upfront, and guarantee profits or big returns. Be cautious of people who promise or guarantee you can quickly and easily make money in the crypto markets with minimal effort.Be mindful on social media when accepting friend requests and when using online dating apps that mention cryptocurrency investments. If you receive a message from someone on an app or a dating site, and they want to show you how to invest in crypto, or ask you to send them crypto, it is likely a scam. The Calgary Police Service is encouraging anyone who has suffered a financial loss because of fraud or extortion to report it to police by calling the non-emergency number at 403-266-1234. If you have received a fraudulent text message, email or phone call but have not sustained a financial loss, please report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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