The Winnipeg Police Service has received several reports of romance scams where criminal actors develop relationships and gain victims' trust before coaching them on cryptocurrency investing or trading.
The scammer contacts victims through various methods, usually unsolicited messages on online social media platforms, including dating apps.
Victims are led to believe the scammer has become wealthy by trading cryptocurrencies and is willing to show the victim their "secrets of success." The victims are then fooled into transferring their funds to criminals:
-The victims create an account with a legitimate cryptocurrency exchange.
-The victims then create an account with an illegitimate cryptocurrency website with all the same features and appearances as an investment website or app, but no connection to any real investments.
-The victims then transfer their funds from the legitimate cryptocurrency exchange to a wallet address associated with the illegitimate website.
-The victims can log in to the illegitimate website and are led to believe they have earned significant profits very quickly. They are encouraged to invest more or are requested to pay additional fees; however, they can never withdraw their funds.
Scammers have used sophisticated terms and emotional manipulation to build victims' trust.
More information and a tool to report these scams can be found at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre: https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/.