Bitcoin and gift card scams

A stack of bit coins

Scammers tend to use similar tactics to take your money regardless of how the actual transfer of funds happen.

Even if you don't normally use cryptocurrency, commonly known as Bitcoin, scammers are good at enticing, pressuring, threatening or extorting their targets into sending them bitcoin from an ATM. Once the coins are in the scammer’s wallet, the victim’s money is gone and unlikely to be retrieved.

Unfortunately, scammers often target victims of fraud a second or third time with the promise of recovering money.

What the scams may look like?

Phone call from a government official or police officer

Scammers often identify themselves as a government official or police officer to increase the level of jeopardy if immediate action is not taken.

  • They spoof their number to show up as local police, or a government agency to convince the target that the call is legitimate.
  • Threats of arrest, lawsuit, penalty, deportation, or immediate suspension of services/benefits if payment is not made immediately.

Always remember

  • Canadian government agencies or police do not demand payment through the exchange of cryptocurrency.
  • If someone is claiming to be from a government agency or bank and is asking for these forms of payment, it is a scam.
  • If you are unsure if you are speaking with the government agency or bank, hang up and call the agency directly through their listed phone number.
  • Legitimate companies would not direct you to ATM machines or send you a QR code to make a payment.

Investments with high returns

Through social media, scammers lure in victims by promising high levels of return.

  • The scammers present themselves as an old friend of the victim.
  • Someone in a chat room suggests you download a specific app for purchasing Cryptocurrency.
  • Someone the victim met via social media requests the victim invest in their business using Cryptocurrency.
  • After receiving a nice return via a legitimate website, victims were prompted to invest a larger sum via a similar but fake website.

Always remember

  • Call someone to discuss before making any decisions.
  • Don’t let your heart guide you into making a financial decision.
  • Only discuss financial matters with those you trust. Never discuss them in public places where you can be over-heard. Do not post them on social media.
  • If it’s too good to be true, it is.
  • If you choose to purchase any kind of Cryptocurrency, use a major trading platform or online exchange.

Characteristics of a crypto scam:

Beware of:

Protect yourself:

To stay up to date with the latest scams, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

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