Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/3/2020 (501 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Bitcoin, the most popular of the over 1,300-plus cryptocurrencies, is currently one of the biggest newsmakers in the finance world.
Unfortunately for all the good that has come from it, there have been negative stories of its use in scams. In Manitoba alone, a large amount of people have fallen victim to various scams including romance scams, CRA scams, and job opportunity scams, where fraudsters are having victims send them money in the form of Bitcoin. In 2019, fraudsters obtained $7.5 million from innocent Canadian victims.
Each scam relies on the fraudster gaining the trust of the victim and depending on the scam, the victim’s desire to obtain something for themselves or to provide assistance to another person. When a victim agrees to send funds, the fraudster directs them to send the money from a Bitcoin ATM to the fraudster’s digital wallet. Once the money is sent to the fraudster’s digital wallet that money cannot be retrieved due to how Bitcoin transactions work.
To protect yourself from scams involving Bitcoin or cryptocurrency payment, there are several rules you should follow:
- • Never send money through a Bitcoin ATM to a digital wallet for someone you do not know or have not met in person;
- • Never pay for outstanding bills by sending money through a Bitcoin ATM. Government agencies, including the CRA, do not accept Bitcoin as a form of payment;
- • Never transfer funds through a Bitcoin ATM that you have received by cheque or e-transfer until the funds have officially cleared your account. This can take several days or more. If there are issues with a cheque or an e-transfer, it can take weeks before it is returned as fraudulent;
- • Before considering paying any person or business through a Bitcoin ATM, it is best to familiarize yourself with what Bitcoin is and how it works. Research on the internet can help you detect potential scams involving Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency.
A helpful resource is the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. It has up-to-date information about new trends in frauds and scams, including those that involve Bitcoin payment. For more information visit www.antifraudcentre.ca
March is Fraud Prevention Month and the Winnipeg Police Service was to hold its seventh annual Shred It event at St. Vital Centre and CF Polo Park. Both events, originally scheduled for March 26, have been postponed to a later date.