Waterloo Region Police issued a warning to community members earlier this month after 120 residents were scammed out of more than $700,000 collectively by scammers, as reported by CTV Kitchener.
The warning states that 14 cases of fraud were reported from January to mid-February with a loss of $62 000.
Global News Reported the RCMP stated cryptocurrency fraud has grown by 400 per cent from 2017 to 2020 alone. Last year, it was reported that Canadians lost more than $11 million between January and August last year. Police in many Canadian cities such as Vancouver, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Alta. and Toronto have issued similar warnings to residents about cryptocurrency scams within the last year.
The scammers have been contacting individuals via phone call impersonating government employees, law enforcement agents, and immigration officials. They have also utilized spoofing to appear as a police phone number to make their calls more convincing to victims and hide their identity.
Through these phone calls, scammers ask victims to verify personal information and they are pressured, by the scammers threatening imprisonment, into withdrawing money and making a Bitcoin transaction using a QR code.
Anyone who has fallen victim to the scams is asked to file an online report with Waterloo Regional Police. Those who have received calls of this nature but have not lost money are requested to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.