We’re only four months into the new year, but 2022 has already proven to be a busy year for cryptocurrency scam artists. According to the Richmond RCMP, roughly $2.6 million in crypto funds have been stolen from unsuspecting victims thus far, and it looks like that number is slated to grow.
The Richmond RCMP Tells People What Precautions to Take
According to the RCMP, most crypto scams come in the form of romance scams, fake investment schemes, or individuals pretending to be government agents. There have already been 22 separate reports of crypto fraud since the start of 2022, and the RCMP is warning people to be aware and take necessary precautions.
Corporal Melissa Liu – a spokesperson for the Richmond RCMP economic crime unit – explained in a statement that one of the most high-profile cases this year involved someone being scammed out of $550,000. Liu said:
In this case, the victim made a series of investments in what he believed were legitimate foreign exchange companies only to discover he’d been tricked. These fraudsters know exactly what they are doing and once they have the money, it’s easy to move it so it cannot be traced or recovered.
Since March of 2020, the Richmond RCMP has been putting signs near crypto ATMS, bitcoin kiosks, and similar machines and establishments to let customers know that fraud is on the rise and that there is great risk that comes with investing in crypto. Liu went on to say:
Unfortunately, these fraudsters keep finding new and unsuspecting victims. We want to keep your money out of these fraudsters’ hands, which is why we will continue to remind [you] and work hard to educate the public about cryptocurrency frauds.
The crypto space has come a long way in a relatively short period. The world of crypto has only been around for 13 years, yet it is valued at more than $2 trillion and it appears to be attracting investors all over the world, with some going so far as to say that bitcoin is the ultimate hedge tool; something that can keep wealth safe and stable during times of economic strife.
Illicit Actors Keep Showing Up
Unfortunately, as the crypto space has grown, fraudsters have become heavily attracted to it given that it’s largely unregulated. This means many of them can enter the arena, play their illicit games, and make off with funds that aren’t theirs without ever being apprehended.
To help people prevent themselves from being scammed, the Richmond RCMP is telling investors to perform due diligence and make sure that whatever investment schemes they come across are legitimate and real. They also are telling people that anyone calling and claiming to be a member of the government is likely an actor, and they should hang their phones up immediately.