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BC Senior Loses $7.5M in Cryptocurrency Scam

Police are warning the public about cryptocurrency scams after a senior from Burnaby was scammed out of more than $7.5 million. The scam lasted several months and involved the victim being scammed twice. It started with a Mandarin language text message in the Spring of 2022 requesting information related to her business history.

An RCMP statement says the pair spoke frequently by phone, text, email, and over a chat app until the scammer began convincing the victim to invest millions of dollars through an online cryptocurrency trading app.

According to police, the app she was using was a fake made to look legitimate and when she realized she couldn’t withdraw money, the fraudster disappeared. She was then contacted by someone else who said he could help get her money back and threatened her until she sent more in what turned out to be a second scam.

The Burnaby RCMP’s economic crime unit is sharing the story to warn others about these types of fraud. According to Cpl. Philip Ho, the scammers went to great lengths to defraud this senior and convince her that the investments were legitimate. He added that victims are at a higher risk of being re-victimized once they have been defrauded, which is why it’s important for victims to come forward to the police.

Police say that warning signs commonly seen in cryptocurrency fraud include suspects providing excuses for withdrawing money from the bank, high returns on investments in a short amount of time, and no formal investment contract. The case is still under investigation, and the Burnaby RCMP is urging anyone who may have fallen victim to a similar scam to contact them.

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