Waterloo, Ontario is the first Canadian city to issue a public warning after 78 people were defrauded by crypto scammers in 2020.
According to Global News, Waterloo residents have lost over $ 430,000 so far this year, with 29 out of 78 victims in July alone.
As previously reported, the scammers posed as government officials and asked victims to deposit money at various Bitcoin ATMs (BTC) under threat of legal repercussions.
The scammers told a resident that more than 25 bank accounts had been opened in his name and then used for money laundering. It was instructed to deposit more than CAD 10,000 into various BTC ATMs in order to resolve a fake legal warning regarding the alleged allegations.
The growing number of cases encouraged the Waterloo Regional Police Department to launch a fraud awareness campaign to prevent people from falling victim to these scams.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Center has also released numbers on phone fraud related to Bitcoin, which appear to confirm the authorities’ findings. In the first seven months of 2020, the center received 23,655 reports from scammers who contacted victims to request Bitcoin payments.
Jeff Thompson, senior intelligence analyst with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, told Global News:
“We saw a decrease in these calls through April and May, but when things came back online we saw a significant increase in fraudulent calls.”
However, he made it clear that not all individuals who reported such fraudulent calls lost money. Authorities have banned some from interacting with scammers, even though prevention figures were not given.
Thompson also said the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is working to track calls from scammers.