Police in Canada also reported an increase in digital currency theft over the last four years. This form of fraud has increased 400% in the last four years, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
In recent years, Canada’s digital currency industry has thrived. Despite the infamous collapse of the QuadrigaCX exchange, Canadians have continued to embrace digital currency, with surveys finding that three out of every four Canadians are familiar with Bitcoin.
Because of the fast adoption, there has been an unfortunate surge in digital currency theft. According to Kris Clark, an organised crime RCMP officer, “Cryptocurrency theft is rising rapidly in Canada, with a gap of more than 400% between 2017 and 2020.”
He added, “Canadians lost nearly $11 million (US$8.7 million) through digital currency scams alone, in the first eight months of 2020.”
Scams involving digital currencies have evolved over time, ranging from those targeted at victims’ greed, such as “double-your-money” schemes, to those aimed at coercion, such as extortion schemes. In recent years, scammers have targeted lonely victims by claiming to be romantically interested in them before luring them into sending digital currencies.
Authorities in Vancouver announced that people lost $2 million to digital currency scams in a single week earlier this month. According to the Vancouver Police Department, those scams have more than tripled this year.
Tania Visintin, the department’s spokeswoman, said, “Predators can often target two strong human emotions – greed and love.” Victims are usually pressured to engage in an attempt to make money or, in some cases, to do a favour for a friend or love interest.”
Extortion scams are on the rise in Canada, according to CTV. Canadians lost $10 million to these scams in 2020. Although digital currencies were not used in any of these scams, they did account for a sizable portion of ransom payments.
“There will be some sort of normal or manipulative hazard, and they will be asked to pay in Bitcoin. This is what we’re doing with these scams,” said Jeff Thomson, an RCMP investigator.
Regulations regulating digital currencies would be crucial in fighting rampant violence. According to CoinGeek, most jurisdictions have adopted new laws to govern the industry, with the goal of wiping out scammers from an industry that is growing in strength around the world.