The LaSalle Police Service is alerting the public to an ongoing trend in financial crimes and fraud. Many of these frauds occur over the internet after receiving unsolicited e-mails, text messages, and sometimes phone calls about amazing investment opportunities or lottery winnings.
In the past month, the LaSalle Police Service has investigated three significant frauds involving a total financial loss of approximately one million dollars.
In two of the instances, the fraud was committed after the victims invested a significant amount of funds via a fraudulent online cryptocurrency agency. Once they tried to withdraw their seemingly rapidly growing investments, they were repeatedly instructed to send more funds to process the withdrawal “fees”. The victims never received their investment money and were now also out the “fees” that they paid to receive their money.
Cryptocurrency refers to a digital asset or currency, such as Bitcoin, which may be a medium of exchange, for which ownership records are generated and supported through a decentralized distribution ledger technology that relies on cryptography, such as Blockchain.
In the third instance, the victim received an e-mail advising that they had won a lottery which included one million dollars and a vehicle. This is what is known as a Lottery Scam. Once the victim contacted the “lottery” representative, they were instructed that they needed to pay the “fees” to process the winnings after which it would be delivered to them. Over a period of time, a substantial amount of money was sent to the scammers by various means including prepaid credit cards, bank deposits, and wire transfers but the “winnings” never materialized. There was always some new fee or issue that required more money to resolve before they could deliver the prizes. Remember, if you didn’t enter a lottery, how could you have won? How did they get your information? Did you provide it on a lottery entry?
The LaSalle Police Service is continuing to investigate these frauds however, cryptocurrency and wire transfer frauds are very difficult to trace and track where the money is ultimately being sent. In most instances, if you fall victim to these types of fraud, you will likely never get your money back. We urge everyone to “do your homework” before investing or giving money to any entity and always remember if it seems too good to be true…IT IS!
If you have questions or concerns regarding the legitimacy of an investment opportunity or a lottery, consult a family member, a trusted financial advisor, or the LaSalle Police Service who can help determine its legitimacy before your part with your hard-earned cash. Better safe than sorry.
Please share this information widely and tell your friends and family.
Fraud Prevention Links:
Competition Bureau of Canada
– Little Black Book of Scams – https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/vwapj/CB-lBBS2-EN.pdf/$file/CB-lBBS2-EN.pdf
Canadian Anti-fraud Centre
– Cryptocurrency Scam – https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/scams-fraudes/investment-investissement-eng.htm#a0
– Lottery Scam – https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/scams-fraudes/prize-prix-eng.htm#a1
Article on cryptocurrency scams