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Crypto currency scams on the rise in B.C.

B.C.’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) says crypto currency has become a new perfect opportunity for scammers, and experts are warning social media users.

Simone Lis, head of the Vancouver chapter of the BBB, says although the investments promise big payoffs, they are also an easy window for scammers to make their move on unsuspecting victims.

“Just because it comes from a friend through social saying this sounds like a great opportunity, I would proceed with extreme caution. We know that in many situations, hackers are hacking into your friends accounts and sending out emails.”

Lis says with crypto currency tips and pages rampant on social media platforms, many scammers will use Twitter and Instagram as a way to find and prey on their targets.

Text message from a scammer to a targeted investor. (Credit: Better Business Bureau)

According to the BBB, the total value of all bitcoins in the world is estimated at $1.03 trillion. A single bitcoin, worth $2,000 in 2017, reached an all-time high of $67,549 in 2021, with early investors in the market making large gains, motivating more people to get involved.

However, Lis says due to the lack of protection and regulation with these kinds of investments, the risk of getting scammed is rapidly increasing and prevalent.

“What we are seeing over time is that issues relating to cryptocurrency type scams are increasing, as well as scams involving cryptocurrency as a method of payment are increasing. We felt it was time to provide education to help people be victims of scams.”

Some Bitcoin ATMs even have warning signs on them reading:

“WARNING! Have you received a phone call from someone demanding payment with Bitcoin? THIS IS LIKELY A SCAM. All Bitcoin transactions are irreversible. Send to your own wallet only. NOT SURE if you are being scammed? Call us for assistance at…”

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However, since most transactions are digital, the BBB says fake websites can be incredibly convincing and often know exactly who to target.

“Victims searching Google for a cryptocurrency app such as find a site for When they set up a wallet on the fake website, which looks quite professional and authentic, they unwittingly transfer their money into a scammer-owned wallet. Reports from the fall of 2021 show fraudsters used these tactics and stole $500,000,” the BBB explained in a statement.

The bureau says in 2021 alone, hackers stole $4 billion worth of crypto currency.

Lis says there are ways to avoid these scams, such as by being weary of the websites investors use, maintaining tight passwords, and using legitimate investment advice websites to learn which platforms are safe and trustworthy.

“If you have a problem, contact someone to talk about your concerns. Contact the BC Securities Commission, the Better Business Bureau, or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.”

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