The Weyburn Police Association is once again urging residents to stay informed and alert to potential Crypto Currency scams. A recent incident has resulted in the loss of funds in excess of $15,000 for one unfortunate holder, and both the frequency and intricacy of these scams seem to be growing. Although he could not discuss specifics about the recent case, Constable Roy of the Weyburn Police Service shared his thoughts on the incident.
"It's heartbreaking," Roy stated. "People work hard for their money and everyone is just trying to do better in life, so it's hard to see this happen. Now we're doing the best that we can to investigate and try to determine who's behind the keystrokes on the other side of this scam, but often these scammers are quite sophisticated and sometimes operate from across the world. It can be difficult to determine who was behind it."
Many of the features that make Crypto valuable as a currency also make it more difficult to trace for cybercrime investigators. While various forms of Crypto can be traded and used internationally by individual holders, the anonymity that these currencies provide can leave little to no trail for authorities to follow during an investigation. Constable Roy explained why the usual tools for investigating fraud don't always apply when Crypto Currencies are involved.
"The unfortunate thing with Crypto Currencies is that they're not regulated or backed by government or central banks," he said. "Investing in or having crypto holdings in online wallets won't have the same safeguards like you'll find with a bank. Normally we can work with a bank to gain access to certain information or to stop certain processes, but we can only do so much with Crypto."
That is why staying informed of the potential for scams and remaining vigilant with one's holdings is important to defend against Crypto thieves. Crypto fraud now takes many forms that do not always directly target victims with the usual "cold call" that we've come to expect. Constable Roy warned that online advertisements have been utilized, as well as legitimate-looking websites that users may discover while researching Crypto investments. He said that the cons are getting better all the time.
"Sometimes the promise of a good return can be too enticing, and people can end up going down the rabbit hole of what these scammers put forth. Sometimes they'll even be professional enough to send you a little bit of money and then have you send more, drawing their target deeper and deeper into the scam. The biggest thing is knowing how professional and legitimate these scammers can make things seem. You could think that you're visiting a professional website, but that visit can allow them to track every keystroke of your computer and reveal things like your passwords."
Although the thought of scammers recording your online activity can be scary, it reaffirms the importance of educating oneself about the potential dangers that exist online. To help maintain your cyber security, Constable Roy offered a timeless adage that can serve as an important reminder: "If it's too good to be true, it probably is."
Should anyone suspect that they are being targeted by a scammer, the Weyburn Police Service recommends placing all transactions and processes on pause and contacting your local authorities as soon as possible. In matters of potential fraud, it is always best to hold back the transfer of funds or information at the first feeling of doubt.